I charge at an hourly rate of £200 plus VAT. An initial meeting usually takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes, which equates to fees of between £150 and £300 plus VAT.
There is no obligation on you to take further advice after our first meeting. That said if you would like me to carry out further work for you I will send you an email with an estimate of my likely fees based on the options we have discussed.
Employers are almost always willing to pay a contribution to the employee’s legal fees. There is no set contribution, but a typical contribution is £500 plus VAT. At the lower end of the scale, the contribution might be £350 plus VAT. In some more complicated cases particularly where a lot of negotiation or amendments are necessary, the contribution may be increased to say £750 plus VAT or occasionally more.
The employer contribution may not cover all your legal fees. In straightforward cases or where your employer is willing to agree to a higher contribution, all your fees may be paid by your employer. In some case you will be liable for any excess fees incurred in excess of the employer contribution. I will update you regularly with estimates of costs. If your costs are not fully covered by your employer’s contribution, I may be able to add value for you by negotiating better terms such as a higher termination payment.
If you wish to bring a claim of unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal to the employment tribunal you will be charged at my hourly rate of £200 plus VAT. It is difficult to estimate what my total fees would be as this will depend in part on whether or not there are any preliminary hearings. For example, a preliminary hearing is likely if you claim that you have been discriminated against because of your age or a disability or other characteristic, or if the judge wants to agree a timetable and dates for the main hearing. Preliminary hearings will add to your fees.
Your total fees will also depend on the duration of both preliminary and main hearings. The more straightforward claims with few witnesses and minimal evidence may be listed for a one day hearing and dealt with in a day. If the case is more complex or if there are more witnesses or your claim for unfair and/or wrongful dismissal includes a discrimination claim, then the hearing is likely to be listed for two or three days or more. Regardless of the length of time allocated to the case, some claims cannot be dealt with in the time allotted because it turns out this was insufficient. Arrangements will then be made for the hearing to be finished another time. This will add to your costs.
The lead in time to a main hearing will be around three to six months, inclusive of any preliminary hearings. You will be invoiced on a monthly basis prior to the hearing and when the matter has concluded. Generally speaking, except in exceptional circumstances, you will be liable for all your own costs, regardless of whether or not you win or lose your claim. It is important to take this into consideration when deciding whether to pursue your claim. As an alternative you may decide to aim to reach a confidential settlement.
I will usually instruct a barrister to do the advocacy on your behalf at all employment tribunal hearings. Their charges vary from around £180 to £350 plus VAT per hour. I have a long standing and very good relationship with a set of barristers in London who specialise in employment law. I have used them for over 15 years and my clients have consistently given me excellent feedback. You will be liable for all of counsel’s charges, but the matter of who I instruct and their total charges will be discussed and agreed with you in advance. They usually quote a fixed fee depending on their preparation time, and the number of days in the hearing. They will also charge for their travelling and other expenses.
It is impossible to give an accurate estimate of likely costs in bringing a claim for unfair dismissal but for a full hearing that lasts one day, I estimate costs of between £8,000 and £12,000 are likely to be incurred, plus counsel’s fees of between £3,000 and £5,000 and disbursements, such as travel expenses. This includes all preparation including witness statements. Employment tribunal hearings that take more than one day are will incur additional counsel’s fees of £1,000 to £3,000 per day plus expenses.