If you are a small business with no more than 49 employees and wish to defend a claim against you by an employee before the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal, we will charge for our services on the basis set out below. We refer to these charges as “fees”. Our fees will always be subject to VAT. As part of the work carried out for you we may have to pay on your behalf the charges rendered by external service providers or government institutions some of which will be subject to VAT. We refer to these payments as disbursements on our bills (invoices).
Please note that our charges as set out below do not apply to the handling of the defence to any claim which involves, in whole or in part, an allegation by an employee of discriminatory conduct by you of any nature whatsoever. In respect of any such matter, we will let you have a bespoke estimate of our charges.
Please note also that our charges as set out below apply only where you are defending a claim for compensation for unfair dismissal or damages for wrongful dismissal. They do not apply where: (1) an employee has applied for an order of re-instatement (i.e. an order that the employee be re-instated by you into the position from which the employee has been dismissed) or an order of re-engagement (i.e. an order that the employee be re-engaged by you into a position different from the one from which the employee has been dismissed); or, (2) where you wish to bring a claim in court against an employee or a former employee for a breach or breaches of confidentiality, and/or a breach or breaches of your intellectual property rights, and/or a breach or breaches of restrictive covenants to which such employee or former employee is or may be bound.
Please further note that our charges set out below.
Our fees are charged on an hourly basis according to the time spent working on your matter.
Very broadly a claim for unfair dismissal will arise where an employee’s complaint relates to the alleged reason for your dismissing that employee or to the procedure adopted by you leading to the decision by you to dismiss the employee. This should be contrasted with a claim for wrongful dismissal which will arise where an employee’s complaint relates to a breach of that employee’s contract of employment by you in not, for example, giving the employee sufficient contractual or statutory notice of termination of the employee’s employment or in not paying the employee the correct amount of remuneration due as at the date of termination of the employee’s employment.
Our fees in respect of defending a claim against you before the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal are likely to be as set out in 1 below with disbursements as indicated in the table at 2 below.
Typically a claim by an employee against an employer for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal will have up to five phases.
The first phase involves our investigating the circumstances relating to the employee’s dismissal and complaint. We will need to review all documentation relevant to the employee’s employment and the dismissal and to interview the relevant member(s) of your staff in detail as to the circumstances giving rise to the complaint. We will then need to consider the documentation and the witness evidence and provide you with our written advice on the merits of the employee’s case and what further work will be required in order to file a response at the Employment Tribunal. The cost of this is estimated to be in the range £1,500 and £5,000 plus VAT.
Assuming that our advice on the merits of your defence is positive, the second phase involves our preparing and filing your response. The cost of this is estimated to be in the range £7,500 and £10,000 plus VAT.
The third phase is the work leading up to a preliminary hearing on directions (which will include drafting any documentation to be submitted to the tribunal at the hearing). Our fees in connection with this are estimated to be in the range £7,500 and £10,000 plus VAT. It will also be necessary to retain counsel (a barrister) to prepare the draft documentation referred to above and to represent you at the preliminary hearing. Our fees could be higher or lower than the estimate given above depending on the nature of the case. We will keep you informed if there is a likelihood of our fees varying from the estimate given above. An estimate of counsel’s fees appears in the table at 2 below.
The fourth phase comprises the work required to prepare the case for the hearing on liability and representation at the hearing itself. The cost of this depends on the size of the case, the complexity of the issues and the length of the hearing. Even in a relatively straightforward case (two days dealing with liability only), our fees will be in the region of £40,000 to £50,000 plus VAT and counsel’s fees. An estimate of counsel’s fees appears in the table at 2 below.
Assuming you are successful at the hearing on liability, there will be no need to deal with the fifth phase. If, however, you are unsuccessful at the hearing on liability, the fifth phase is a remedy hearing. This can cost between £12,000 to £20,000 plus VAT depending on the complexity of the issues and the length of the hearing. Counsel will again be required. An estimate of counsel’s fees appears in the table at 2 below.
The estimates of our fees have been calculated on the basis of the following hourly rates: partner £350, solicitor who is not a partner or legal assistant of equivalent grade £250, trainee solicitor £150.
As well as the fees of counsel, you will be liable to pay sundry disbursements which may be incurred by us in connection with the preparation for and attendance the hearings at the third, fourth and fifth phases. These could include printing and photocopying of documents for the hearings and travelling expenses, accommodation and subsistence relating to our attendance at such hearings. Estimates of any such disbursements will be provided to you before the cost is incurred.
The work will be carried by a partner with over 15 years post qualification experience in the field of employment law together with assistance from a solicitor who is not a partner or a legal assistant of equivalent grade or a trainee solicitor as necessary. All work will be supervised by a partner.
Please see the table below for details of the typical disbursements that you should expect to pay.
|Counsel’s fees at the third phase (preliminary hearing on directions)||£2,000 to £5,000 plus VAT|
|Counsel’s fees at the fourth phase (hearing on liability)||£15,000 to £60,000 plus VAT|
|Counsel’s fees at the fifth stage (hearing on remedies)||£5,000 to £15,000 plus VAT
|Printing and photocopying of bundles of documents for hearings||Estimates to be provided before cost incurred. Plus VAT in all cases.|
|Travelling expenses, accommodation and subsistence in relation to attendance at hearings||Estimates to be provided before cost incurred. Plus VAT in all cases.|