Our services are offered on an hourly rate or fixed fee basis or for individual clients only, a case may be suitable for a No Win No Fee Agreement subject to appropriate assessment by us.
The first initial meeting/telephone conference with us is free of charge, where we will discuss with you the legal issues surrounding your matter and suggest an appropriate course of action in accordance with your needs.
Our clients are given an estimate of costs during our initial meeting/telephone conference or as part of the engagement process. There are some areas where we are able to be more indicative and, as in accordance with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) guidance on price transparency, we have published our price and service information where it is possible to be upfront about charges without knowing all the details of the matter.
Employment Tribunal Claims
The services we provide include pursuing Employment Tribunal claims. Claims in which we act involve not only claims of unfair and wrongful dismissal but also whistleblowing, discrimination, equal pay or other claims.
The key stages of a claim which are covered within our normal fees are as follows:
- Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
- Entering into Early Conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
- Preparing claim;
- Reviewing and advising on response from other party;
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process;
- Preparing or considering a schedule of loss;
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing;
- Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents;
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses;
- Preparing bundle of documents;
- Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements;
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list;
- Preparation and attendance at trial including any separate hearing to determine compensation, including instructions to Counsel
The key stages set out above are an indication. If some of the stages are not required, the fee, of course, will be lower. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged in accordance with your individual needs.
If there are extra stages required to the process the costs will be higher such as additional applications made to the Employment Tribunal.
We advise on employment but not on tax or pensions. If you need specific advice on these matters we can arrange for you to receive this from other specialists in these fields.
When advocacy is required we generally instruct counsel on your behalf. We will discuss the cost of Counsel fees with you in advance.
The basis of our charges
We generally base our fees on hourly rates although on some work we are able to offer fixed fees. The current members of our team and their hourly rates are as follows:
- Joanna Gooden – Partner – £275 +VAT
- Ashley Scriven – Partner – £275 +VAT
Disbursements are payable in addition to these charges. Disbursements are amounts we pay to third parties for expenses such as travel costs and counsel’s fees.
In some situations, your case may be suitable for a No Win No Fee Agreement subject to an initial Investigation Fee. Please let us know if you would like us to assess your case on this basis. No Win No Fee Agreements may be used for the purposes of a negotiation stage only and/or for the full Employment Tribunal process.
You will be informed of the initial Investigation Fee required during the initial meeting/telephone conference with us. The Investigation Fee charged is in order for us to review all documentation, establish any gaps that we require instructions on and provide you with a comprehensive advice on the next steps in relation to your claim. Following this, you will then only pay our fees if you are successful in your claim (either via settlement negotiations or at Tribunal) as discussed with us. Our usual success fee under this type of Agreement is 35% of the compensation recovered (inclusive of VAT).
Our Pricing for Bringing and Defending Claims for Unfair or Wrongful Dismissal
An Employment Tribunal claim involving only claims of unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal will normally, but not always be a simple claim.
Factors that make cases more complex
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if an employee is dismissed after making a public interest disclosure (blowing the whistle on the employer).
- If there are allegations of discrimination or other claims which are linked to the dismissal.
- If there are multiple claimants to the claim.
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim.
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether the Claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties) or whether the Tribunal is able to hear the claim due to jurisdictional or time limit issues.
- The number of witnesses and documents.
- Evidence of expert witnesses including experts’ reports.
- Making or defending a costs application.
We have split our fees into three bands based on complexity to give an estimate of fees. Please note these figures are all based on the case continuing through to trial. In reality most cases are resolved before trial.
- Simple case: £7,000 – £15,000 plus VAT
- Medium complexity case: £12,000-£25,000 plus VAT
- High complexity case: £25,000 plus VAT
Each day of a Tribunal hearing will incur a charge based on the time spent and the hourly rate of the lawyer. This will typically be over £1000 plus VAT. In addition, Counsel’s Fees will be incurred each day that the Hearing continues (see below). These costs are included within the bands of fees outlined above.
Generally, we would expect a hearing lasting 1-2 days for a simple case, 2-4 days for a medium complexity case and 5 days or more for a high complexity case.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as counsel’s fees, expert’s fees, travel expenses and court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Counsel’s fees vary according to the experience of the individual counsel. Fees for a Hearing are usually based on a brief fee which covers the cost of preparation and the first day of the hearing and “refresher” or a daily rate which is payable for the second and each subsequent day of the hearing. Typical fees for counsel are as follows:
- Brief fee £1500-£3000 plus VAT
- Refresher £1000-2000 plus VAT
Medium complexity case-
- Brief fee £3000-£12,000 plus VAT
- Refresher £1000-3000 plus VAT
High complexity case-
- Brief fee £6000-75,000 plus VAT
- Refresher £1500- 5000 plus VAT
Should you instruct us on a No Win No Fee basis, you are still responsible for paying Counsel Fees as disbursements although you will of course not pay anything directly for our services unless your claim is successful. Should your case settle before the Hearing, the need for Counsel’s Brief & Refresher fees can be totally avoided. All disbursements attract VAT at 20%
How Long Will My Matter Take?
The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 2-4 weeks.
The aim of Employment Tribunals is to conclude all cases within 26 weeks of the claim starting but in reality ,it may take longer to conclude, often 40-60 weeks from the claim starting to the final Hearing. This is an estimate and we will be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.
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