Costs information for employers in defending a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal

Purpose of this information note

We set out below the costs information we are required to provide for the provision of legal services to employers defending a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal in an Employment Tribunal.

Who will carry out the work

Anne-Marie Pavitt and Sarah-Jane Watson carry out the employment work at Dixcart Legal. Anne-Marie is head of the employment department. Sarah-Jane Watson is supervised  by Anne-Marie and Anne-Marie is supervised by Mel Smith, Managing Director. Details of their qualifications can be found on the ‘Our People’ page of our website.

How long will it take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of the matter depends largely on the stage at which the case is resolved. If it is decided to try to settle the case early and a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, the claim may be resolved in 6 to 8 weeks (or less).

If the claim is pursued by the employee to a final hearing and we are not able to successfully resolve it before then, then it is very much dependant on the availability of the applicable Employment Tribunal. It could take one year or more.  

These are just estimates and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

The work we will do for you

We have set out below the key stages of defending  a claim.

Key stages

  • Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached
  • Reviewing and advising on claim from other party
  • Preparing response
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • Considering a schedule of loss
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • 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 for the full final hearing, including instructions to Counsel

Our pricing for bringing a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal.

Our legal services

We carry out the work on an hourly rate basis. We have provided below a typical range of our legal costs, exclusive of VAT. These costs are based on Anne-Marie’s hourly rate (£285 per hour, excluding VAT). 

Our legal costs range for settling a matter at pre-conciliation stage (this is negotiation prior to an Employment Tribunal application being made) on the basis that this is dealt with by way of a settlement agreement is on average £3,135, excluding VAT. This equates to an average time of up to 11 hours.

Our legal costs for taking a matter to a full final hearing in the Employment Tribunal ranges from £21,945 to £35,625 (excluding VAT and disbursements such as barristers fees (see further below)). These fees include the preparation of the matter for the hearing but does not include attendance at the hearing itself (see further below). The fees equate to an average time of between 77 and 125 hours. The lower range costs are based on there being only three witness statement prepared. The higher range costs are based on there being up to six witness statements prepared.

The exact number of hours it will take to defend an employee claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal depends on the nature of the defence including the amount of supporting evidence we need to obtain and consider and  the levels of correspondence and the complexity of the claim and your case in defence of it. Please note the above legal costs range is based on the facts set out in this costs information. All cases are likely to vary and of course, we can give you a more accurate estimate once we have more information about your specific case.

Providing us with all the information and documents we request at the start of the matter in a clear and methodical order will tend to keep our legal costs lower.  Factors which usually push our legal costs higher (and may well be above the range of costs indicated) can include (but please note that this is not an exhaustive list):

  • where urgent action is necessary
  • lengthy/ numerous correspondence
  • complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
  • if it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if the employee alleges s/he was dismissed after blowing the whistle on his/her employer
  • a large number of documents
  • allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

Additional costs - Attendance at an Employment Tribunal Hearing

There will be an additional charge for attending an Employment Tribunal hearing of £1,995 per day (excluding VAT) based on a 7 hours per day in attendance at the Employment Tribunal. In most instances we would recommend that a barrister be instructed to attend the Employment Tribunal and advocate on your behalf. Before instructing a barrister we would obtain a fee estimate for attendance. For simple cases we would expect that the barrister instructed would attend the hearing without a solicitor in order to limit costs. For medium and high complexity cases a solicitor will also be required to attend at the rate of £1,995 per day. (This is an additional fee to the charges indicated above).

Counsel's (the barrister instructed to attend the Employment Tribunal) fees are likely to be between £750 to £2,000 per day (depending on experience of the barrister) (excluding VAT) for attending an Employment Tribunal hearing (including preparation).

Additional costs -  third parties

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as counsels fees (see above) and fees for medical reports (if required). We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. Before incurring third party fees we will obtain an estimate and notify you of the same. The Employment Tribunal no longer charges fees for defending a claim.

Additional costs - Excluded items

In certain circumstances wrongful dismissal claims may/should be brought in the civil courts rather than the Employment Tribunal. Claims brought or defended in the civil courts are subject to different procedural rules. The fee structure set out above does not apply to wrongful dismissal claims in the civil courts.

The following items are not included in the above legal costs range and will attract additional costs:

  • defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • where it is necessary to make or defend any interim applications on your behalf (meaning any applications to the Employment Tribunal made by either party prior to the final hearing)
  • if it is necessary to amend your response to the claim following any application by the claimant to amend their claim
  • making or defending a costs application
  • where we need to prepare more than 6 witness statements
  • bringing or defending any appeals

Version: 1

Effective Date: 6th December 2018

Dixcart Legal Limited