Employment law services and costs for employers

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 £220 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 only be paid only if a case was won).

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

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 before offering a settlement agreement, to make sure that you are not offering a much greater payment than necessary. Most employers will make a contribution to the cost of the advice that employees have to receive on a settlement agreement in order to make it legally binding. We can advise on what would be an appropriate contribution in any particular case.

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 a claim reaches the employment tribunal however, there are some preliminary steps.  Your employee (or former employee) may contact ACAS who may try to conciliate.  If they do not, or if conciliation is unsuccessful and they lodge a claim, you will be given time to respond.  We can deal with ACAS conciliation and draft the response to the claim if it becomes necessary.  We can also put together the paperwork for any hearing (“bundle”) and produce witness statements, a chronology and a cast list.  The employment tribunal usually sets the timetable for doing all those things and for agreeing a list of issues with the other side.

A claim for unfair dismissal is likely to cost between £7,000 and £15,000 plus VAT to defend, including representing you at a one-day hearing.  Additional days at a hearing are likely to cost £600-750 plus VAT per day. We will usually appear in the employment tribunal on your behalf, rather than instructing a barrister separately. 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 it and knows it 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 – between 3 and 7 days typically.  Some employment tribunals are already listing multi-day hearings for 15 months’ time, and it will very much depend on where your (former) employee works (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 Early Conciliation, lodging 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 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.