Our experienced employment team regularly advises on Employment Tribunal litigation. Primarily, we act for employers defending claims and typically our cases involve complex fact patterns and often allegations of discrimination, whistleblowing or regulatory breaches.
In relation to cases involving unfair or wrongful dismissal, our regulator (the SRA) requires us to provide certain information about the costs that might arise in respect of our representation of clients in such cases.
Our fees will reflect a number of factors that contribute to the complexity (see below). Although it is not possible to specify the expected total cost of a case without information about the specific claim(s) involved, by way of guidance the likely range of fees for a simple case would be between £45,000 and £90,000 (excluding disbursements and VAT). By contrast, for the most complex cases, we would expect our fees to be in the range between £190,000 and £1,25 million (excluding disbursements and VAT). For a case with medium complexity, we would expect the range of fees to be between £90,000 and £190,000 (excluding disbursements and VAT).
Factors influencing the complexity of a case
There are many factors that affect the complexity of a case and the costs involved including:
- making or defending preliminary applications (e.g. to clarify the issues in the claim)
- the involvement of jurisdictions or parties outside the UK
- whether any of the parties work in a regulated role or sector (e.g. financial services)
- the scope of 'disclosure' (the search for and provision of documents relevant to the claim)
- the number of potential witnesses for either party
- the involvement of expert evidence (e.g. medical evidence)
- whether there are allegations of discrimination, whistleblowing or regulatory breaches
- the duration of any hearing(s)
- making or defending costs applications
Our charges are usually based on hourly rates which reflect the experience and seniority of the lawyers involved however the rates for each lawyer themselves may vary and will be agreed on a case by case basis.
In appropriate circumstances, we may agree alternative fee arrangements. In all cases, we would discuss the scope of our representation and the applicable basis for charging at the outset of a case.
Biographies, including the experience and qualifications of those lawyers who undertake Employment Tribunal cases are available in People & Places.
Disbursement are costs related to a case that are payable to third parties. Where we handle payment of disbursements as the case proceeds, we will itemise disbursements and any VAT that is applicable on our invoices.
The most significant disbursement will usually be counsel’s fees (the fees of the barrister who acts as advocate at the hearing). These will vary depending upon the experience and seniority of the barrister but could range between £5,000 and £15,000 per day of the hearing. Additional counsel’s fees may also arise for preliminary advice as the case develops and to reflect time spent preparing for the hearing.
All legal fees and disbursements incurred by UK Fee earners working on UK matters would be subject to applicable standard VAT at the prevailing rate, currently 20%.
The fee ranges set out above are would cover the following key stages of a claim:
- taking initial instructions, reviewing the case and advising on the merits (this is likely to be revisited as the case proceeds e.g. as disclosure takes place and witness statements are exchanged)
- pre-claim conciliation and/or settlement discussions, as required, throughout the process
- preparing claim(s) and/or responses to claim(s)
- preparing or responding to schedules of loss
- preparing for and attending any preliminary hearings
- preparing for and attending interim application hearings
- carrying out disclosure, exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents for the main hearing
- taking witness statements, drafting statements and finalising their contents with witnesses
- reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements
- agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and cast list as required
- preparation and attendance at the main hearing including instructing Counsel
The time that it takes from initial instructions to the final resolution of a case will depend primarily on the stage at which the case is resolved. If a claim proceeds to a final hearing, a case is likely to take between 6 and 24 months.