Please feel free to contact us to discuss any employment matter. We are always happy to have an initial conversation to discuss your situation with you and we do not charge for this.
Our hourly rate for a senior solicitor ranges from £200 to £250 per hour plus VAT. We only use senior solicitors and do not use junior lawyers, legal executives or trainees. There will only ever be one dedicated solicitor working on your case unless specialist expertise is required, in which case a specialist solicitor may be called on to assist, but only if you agree to this. The reason we take this approach is that we believe this provides you with the best advice while also avoiding duplication of work, so the number of hours spent (and therefore the cost) is usually far less than it would be in a “traditional” law firm.
Like other law firms, we charge expenses such as travel expenses (for travelling to a meeting with you or to an employment tribunal hearing venue). However, unlike most other law firms, we do not charge for the first half hour of travel. In order to keep travel expenses to a minimum, we will communicate with you by email and phone rather than meet with you (unless you prefer to meet) and we will seek to agree to conduct a hearing by phone wherever possible.
Depending on the particular case, we may be able to agree a fixed or capped fee. We do not operate “contingency” fees or work on a “no-win, no-fee” basis (both of which would mean that our fees would be paid only if a case was won).
Some household or other insurance policies include a provision for legal expenses insurance. It is always worth checking to see if you have such insurance before you instruct us or any other solicitor as your insurers may require you to use a particular lawyer.
The time it takes (and therefore the cost) to conclude any issue or case will depend on the type of case you are bringing and the stage in the process at which you ask us to act for you. We can give you a better idea of likely total cost once we have spoken to you, seen your paperwork and agreed how much you would like us to be involved.
Settlement agreements are documents signed by an employer and employee, normally where an employee agrees to leave their employer without making a claim against that employer, in return for a financial payment. It is important that you get legal advice if you are offered a settlement agreement, to make sure that you are not signing away your rights to a much greater payment. Most employers will make a contribution to the cost of the advice that you receive on a settlement agreement, and we will aim to keep our fees within that contribution. We will advise you if we do not believe we will be able to do so, and we will seek to negotiate an increase from the employer, although our fees ultimately remain your responsibility.
Employment tribunal claims
The following section gives an indication of our pricing structure in an “average” case if it goes all the way to an employment tribunal. Please bear in mind that most cases are resolved before they reach an employment tribunal. If this happens, the costs are likely to be significantly less. How much less will depend how long it takes to reach agreement while going through the employment tribunal process.
An unfair dismissal claim is usually listed for a day, and some employment tribunals have availability in the next six months for a one-day hearing. Before you reach an employment tribunal hearing, however, you must normally contact ACAS to obtain an “Early Conciliation” certificate. This can be done on-line and may involve trying to agree a settlement with your employer or former employer. Once you have your ACAS certificate you can submit your claim. This must be done within the legal deadline, which is normally three months less one day from the date you were dismissed. If your employers wish to defend your claim, they will be given a time by which they must do so, which is typically four to eight weeks from when you submitted your claim.
We can help you go to ACAS, decide whether or not to put in a claim, and draft your claim form. Once we have your employer’s response, we can put together the paperwork for the hearing and produce witness statements, your schedule of loss and any other documents required by the employment tribunal (for example, a chronology, cast list, and the list of legal and factual issues for the employment tribunal to determine). The employment tribunal usually sets the timetable for doing all those things.
In a claim for unfair dismissal, it is likely to cost between £5,000 and £15,000 plus VAT to prepare for and represent you at a one-day hearing. If the case lasts for more than one day, then each additional day at a hearing is likely to cost £600-£750 plus VAT per day. We will usually attend the employment tribunal rather than asking a barrister to do so. This generally makes it more cost effective for you and gives you the benefit of your case being presented by a solicitor who has already been working on your behalf so knows it (and you) very well.
For more complex claims, such as discrimination claims, the employment tribunal will ask the parties to attend a preliminary hearing (sometimes more than one) before the main hearing. This is normally to decide what the key issues are and to set out a timetable for the case. Discrimination hearings tend to last longer – typically between 3 and 7 days. Some employment tribunals are already listing multi-day hearings for 15 months’ time, and it will very much depend on where you work (or worked) as to when your case will be heard. Again, there may be additional days or part-days to include in the calculation of costs.
Other types of claim, such as wrongful dismissal claims, deductions from wages claims or claims for holiday pay tend to be more straightforward and are generally dealt with more quickly by the employment tribunal. The hearings are usually much shorter, from two hours to half a day, though the method of preparation (ACAS, submitting a claim, paperwork and statements) is the same. These cases may be heard within three to six months of lodging the claim and are likely to cost between £1,500 and £7,000 plus VAT.
Other employment-related matters
All other employment-related matters, including advising you in relation to grievance, disciplinary or absence issues at work, are charged at our normal hourly rate, unless we are able to offer you a fixed or capped fee. Please feel free to contact us to discuss any employment matter. We are always happy to have an initial conversation to discuss your options and the potential costs with you and we do not charge for this.