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Employment Solicitors

We have experience of advising both employees and employers in numerous types of employment related issues. Some of the areas that we regularly are asked to be involved with are:

  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Constructive Dismissal
  • Sex and Race Discrimination
  • TUPE Transfers
  • Conducting and Defending Discipliniary Proceedings
  • Compromise Agreements

Costs and Funding

Amongst the more traditional funding options of hourly rates and fixed fees, we are able to offer employers a Human Resources retainer service, tailored for your business so as to ensure a limited proportional monthly fee based on your likely needs

Our hourly rates for contentious employment matters range between £120 plus VAT to £350 plus VAT, depending on the level of individual dealing with matters; which level of individual is appropriate to deal with any given matter will depend on the issues raised and their complexity.

Our regulators require we provide certain information relating to the provision of advice and representation to employers and employees in relation to defending or brining claims before the Employment Tribunal  for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal.  In this type of claim, whether acting for the employer or the employee, the range of likely costs to be incurred will be roughly similar.  As no two claims are ever the same it is always difficult to generalise and there is never a substitute for having a particular case reviewed to obtain a better indication of costs.  However, by way of indication:

1. Hourly rates

Our hourly rates will be between £120 plus VAT to £350 plus VAT (being a range from Trainee Solicitors/Paralegals to Directors).

It is incredibly difficult to give an indication of likely costs to a final hearing, because it always depends on the grounds for the dismissal and addressing the issues involved in the case.  However, an indicative range of costs, for various stages of a typical unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal, would be:

  • reviewing paperwork and attending an initial meeting to understand the key facts – c. £550 plus VAT;
  • drafting or responding to an ET1 (Employment Tribunal Complaint Form) – c. £750 plus VAT to £1,500 plus VAT;
  • preparing a case to progress to a final hearing – c. £4,000 to £10,000 plus VAT

Please note that these are only indicative costings only and are based on a solicitor (of around c. 2 years post-qualification experience) undertaking the relevant works at £250 plus VAT per hour.

Where Trainee Solicitors or non-qualified members of staff (under supervision) undertakes the work, reduced hourly rates will apply for the case handler but there will be supervision charged at the supervising solicitor’s usual hourly rates.  More junior members of staff will always be supervised by experienced solicitors.  The level of such supervision will naturally depend on the complexity of the matter.

2.  Contingency Fee Agreements

This type of agreement is where your solicitor takes a percentage of the damages that the Tribunal might award rather than charing you on an hourly rate basis.

Under this type of agreement, you would pay only if you ultimately win, which includes achieving a fair settlement.  We tend to only offer this type of agreement to employees that are brining claims against their employers.

The maximum percentage of the damages that solicitors are entitled to charge is 35% to include VAT (this is fixed by law).  However, expenses, such as instructing Counsel, may be charged in addition to this percentage.

In a typical unfair dismissal claim, the cost of Counsel’s instruction might be something in the region of c. £500 plus VAT to £5,000 plus VAT.  As the Employment Tribunal no longer requires a payment of fees to commence a claim, there are likely to be no other expenses in an average claim.

There are limited cases in which a solicitor may render a cost under this type of agreement without achieving a successful outcome.  These are very narrow and relate to incidences where we terminate the agreement for breach, such as where, for example:

  • providing us with deliberately misleading information relevant to the facts of the case;
  • not acting in good faith towards us;
  • refusing to settle the case where we consider that the offer is a reasonable one and the risk of proceeding does not justify the additional benefit of proceeding with the claim.

Where we do terminate the agreement, the charge would be by reference to the time incurred in dealing with the matter based on the hourly rates of the individual dealing with matters.

Timing and Progression

How quickly a matter progresses will depend upon the issues involved.  However, by way of a rough indication, an average wrongful dismissal or unfair dismissal claim is likely to be progressed by us within the following timescales:

  • Initial instruction to letter of advice – c. 1 to 2 weeks from initial meeting;
  • Draft ET1 (complaint form) or ET3 (response form) – 2 weeks from receipt of full instructions and relevant documentation;
  • Advice on the ET1/ET3, c. 2 weeks of receipt of full instructions and relevant documentation;
  • The timing of the Tribunal can vary for processing claims and the directions it provides can differ from case to case.  Unpaid wages claim, for example, tend to be listed fairly promptly, within a month or so from receipt by the Tribunal of the relevant forms, whereas an unfair dismissal complaint could take much longer to reach a final hearing, or say 6 months or more from its commencement, depending on what issues are in dispute.

The rate of VAT applicable on the above costs (where VAT is indicated) is 20%.