We hope that we provide helpful and useful information about the types of work we undertake and our experience in doing so elsewhere on our website, we are now required by the SRA to provide specific information about the costs bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal claims and our experience in carrying out this work.
Jim Chambers qualified as a solicitor in March 1996 and Andrew O’Neill qualified as solicitor in October 1997. Both have practised employment law continuously since qualification and have conducted thousands of employment tribunal claims for both employers and employees. Naomi Dinnes qualified in September 2017 and practices solely in employment law and undertakes both claimant work and work on the firm’s respondent clients.
Every tribunal claim is different. Costs will vary from case to case but we would expect costs for unfair or wrongful dismissal claims to fall within the following ranges based on hourly rates of £130 for an assistant solicitor and £220 for the directors. All costs exclude VAT which is currently charged at 20%:
Simple wrongful dismissal case: £1,500 – £2,500 (excluding VAT)
Medium complexity case (both unfair and/or wrongful dismissal): £2,500 – £5,000 (excluding VAT)
High complexity case: £5,000 – £20,000 (excluding VAT)
Stages of a Claim
The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:
- Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation. This is an ongoing process throughout the claim.
- Assisting and undertaking pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached. Further details of this process can be found here. Exploring settlement is also an ongoing process throughout the duration of any case. This may take between one week and several months.
- Preparing the claim or response which usually take between 1-3 weeks.
- Reviewing and advising on the claim or response from other party which will usually be 1 week from receipt.
- Preparing or considering a schedule of loss. This would normally be within 1 week of receiving the response.
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing if required.
- Exchanging documents with the other party, agreeing a bundle of documents, preparing bundle of documents, which normally occurs within 4 months of a claim being processed.
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses, which normally occurs within 6 months of a claim being processed.
- Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements.
- Drafting and agreeing preliminary matters as directed by the Tribunal which could include a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list which normally occurs shortly before the Final Hearing.
- Preparation and attendance at a Final Hearing which normally occurs within 9 months of a claim being processed although the Tribunal Service is currently experiencing significant delays. We conduct hearings ourselves. In the unlikely event that a barrister is required this fee will be an additional cost.
The stages set out above are an indication of the likely stages in a case and have been affected recently due firstly to the lack of employment tribunal Judges and now with the ongoing Covid-19 virus which has caused serious disruption through cancellation and postponement of hearings. If some of the stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. Additional stages or further hearings may increase the costs. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can discussed depending on your individual needs. It is not our normal practice.
Factors which might increase or decrease costs
As we have said, every tribunal claim is different and we approach the cases in that way, providing a bespoke service. It is therefore very difficult to state what factors might increase costs. We assess every case on an individual basis. The following could make a case more complex and increase the costs:
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
- Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
- The number of witnesses and documents. For example, complex discrimination claims often involve multiple witnesses which will involve increased costs if we need to take statements or, if defending a claim, take instructions and prepare cross examination of those witnesses
- The case runs for an unusual number of days
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal are not covered by the above costs estimates.
- Making or defending a costs application
However, receiving detailed instructions with highly organised collation of documents will reduce costs as will ensuring that careful attention is paid to our advice and request throughout the process in a timely fashion.
Other costs (disbursements)
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees, hotel and travel costs. These are charged in addition to our own costs but unless the case requires long distance travel or overnight accommodation we would not expect to charge for these. This includes not charging for local travel and routine copying. Where disbursements are charged VAT at 20% (if applicable) will also be charged. Tribunal proceedings do not currently require a court fee to be paid.
How long will my matter take?
We will keep you fully informed of timescale as the matter progresses. We have set out above for examples of how long we anticipate the various stages in the process will take. Unfortunately, the time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter is largely out of our control. The Tribunal Service may take many months to list your claim and much can depend on how the case is conducted by the other party. Cases can be resolved through settlement at almost any stage and this is a common form of resolution.
We want to give you the best possible service. However, if at any point you become unhappy or concerned about the service we provide then you should inform us immediately, so that we can do our best to resolve the problem. In the first instance it may be helpful to contact the person who is working on your case to discuss your concerns or a director to resolve any issues.
If you would like to make a formal complaint, you should write to Andrew O’Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org. If it is not appropriate for Mr O’Neill to deal with the formal complaint it will be passed to Jim Chambers. Both individuals are directors and contact should be made by email. We aim to deal with your response in writing within 14 days of receipt. Making a complaint will not affect how we handle your case.
What to do if we cannot resolve your complaint
The Legal Ombudsman can help you if we are unable to resolve your complaint ourselves. They will look at your complaint independently and it will not affect how we handle your case. Before accepting a complaint for investigation, the Legal Ombudsman will check that you have tried to resolve your complaint with us first. If you have, then you must take your complaint to the Legal Ombudsman within six months of receiving a final response to your complaint and (i) no more than six years from the date of act/omission or (ii) no more than three years from when you should reasonably have known there was cause for complaint. If you would like more information about the Legal Ombudsman, please contact them.
Call: 0300 555 0333 between 9.00 to 17.00.
Legal Ombudsman PO Box 6806, Wolverhampton, WV1 9WJ
What to do if you are unhappy with our behaviour
The Solicitors Regulation Authority can help if you are concerned about our behaviour. This could be for things like dishonesty, taking or losing your money or treating you unfairly because of your age, a disability or other characteristic.
Visit their website to see how you can raise your concerns with the Solicitors Regulation Authority: www.sra.org.uk.