Employment Tribunal claim for employers

If you have had a claim brought against you by an employee or former employee for unfair dismissal, discrimination or any other employment claim then we understand this will have a huge impact on your business.  We can support and represent you throughout the claim, advising you as to the best course of action.

Our fees to represent your business are based on a rate per hour, however, once we have had our initial consultation and have a better understanding as to the claim against you, we will advise you as to the overall costs.

Initial consultation

Our Employment Litigation team has over 30 years of collective experience supporting employers in matters of employment law.  While we can work with employers on various matters including settlement agreements, restrictive covenants and general employment law advice on staff management, we specialise in defending tribunal claims including unfair dismissal and discrimination.  You can see our team listed below with their fee for the initial consultation; any member of the team would be supervised by Howard Robson, Partner and Team Leader of the Employment department:

During this initial consultation, which is normally between 60 to 90 minutes, we will discuss the claim being made against you and discuss the options available and the related consequences or issues.   

Our fees above are slightly higher than our normal hourly rate as they also include several calls prior to the initial consultation so that we are aware of the facts of the claim.  Some follow up after the consultation is also included, dependent on the claim.

Fees to represent my business at tribunal

Should you choose to instruct us, our fees to represent you are then based on a rate per hour, which you can see as follows:

Occasionally there will be a Trainee Solicitor who will work with one of our Solicitors on your claim.  We will notify you of this if this is the case, and their hourly rates are charged at £120 + VAT.  Throughout your claim with us you it will also be necessary for you to engage with our Legal Secretaries, Sam Grant or Janet Potter

Our fee rates per hour depend on your funding method.  You may have a legal expenses insurance policy (or a Directors and Officers liability policy) which may indemnify the business for legal fees and compensation (subject to their terms).  You are strongly recommended to make contact with your insurers or brokers to enquire as to the availability of cover for the services we can provide.  If this is the case, we will agree a rate with the insurer which is negotiated at the outset; typically between £200 and £220 per hour at Partner level plus VAT, and between £160 and £190 plus VAT at Associate and Assistant solicitor level.  These rates are lower than private fee rates because of the frequency of instructions and the financial support provided by a major insurer.  We may charge for any shortfall in fees where the insurer’s offered rates are substantially lower than our standard commercial rates as set out above.  

We calculate that a typical case of unfair dismissal, when defended, will incur between £7,000 and £9,000 of our fees plus VAT to be incurred over a period of some 9 to 12 months; we find that this extended period of time which will assist your cash-flow.

All claims are different; litigation is by its nature adversarial so we need to be flexible to respond to the many facets a claim may have.  In this context, a typical case of unfair dismissal would not include the following examples of complications which would increase the time spent on defending your claim and therefore your overall costs:

  • A second preliminary hearing may be required depending on the circumstances.
  • Occasionally the preliminary hearing will lead to additional claims being brought, such as discrimination or whistle-blowing.
  • Where there are applications to tribunal for specific orders to be made, for example if we wish to apply to strike out the claim.
  • If the claimant is disabled, there may be further hearings required, additional directions issued by the employment tribunal, as well as the need for medical evidence and expert witnesses.
  • Judicial mediation is occasionally recommended by the Judge before proceeding.
  • In all claims there will be a review of the documentation required.  Depending on the complexity of the claim against you there may be an excessive number of witnesses to interview, documents to read or email chains.  We will advise you during the course of your claim if any additional time is required.

 

Process of defending the claim

At the start of the claim against you, we will provide you with an overview of the work we will be undertaking on your behalf with an estimate timescale and relevant costs.  During the claim, we will stay in contact with you to update you with any developments, as well as any changes that will need further work.  The work included in our fees should you instruct us to represent you will include:

  • Reviewing the relevant documents and taking instructions from you.
  • Drafting an ET3 (response form for your claim) for your approval and filing the same with the Tribunal.
  • We will seek contact to negotiate a settlement through Acas Early Conciliation where possible and commercially appropriate.  If a settlement is offered and rejected by the claimant, we will respond accordingly and discuss the next steps with you. 
  • Preparing and representing you at the preliminary hearing.  This is normally a telephone hearing with a Judge and the representatives from both parties.   The facts of the claim will be heard and a timetable for the claim will be set, which will include confirmation of the tribunal hearing date. 
  • Ahead of the tribunal date, we will conduct the relevant administrative steps and review the documentation submitted by the claimant, including their schedule of loss.
  • We will prepare the necessary paperwork for the tribunal hearing, including the witness statements and bundle of documents.
  • Finally, we will instruct counsel to proceed with the final hearing if required.

Unless otherwise requested, our fees will not include:

  • Dealing with any taxation implications
  • Dealing with any appeal you may wish to take or defend against any final determination by a Tribunal or Court

 

Third party payments

In addition, it may be necessary to make third party payments, known as disbursements, to others on your behalf and which are payable by you. These may include items such as experts’ fees, travel, photocopying and Counsel’s fees as referred to above.   We will be able to inform you of the likelihood of any of these costs being payable at the beginning of your claim, and we will update you as and when these will be needed and will always obtain your approval before proceeding.

You may if you wish set an upper limit on our charges and disbursements (excluding VAT in both cases) with a view to seeking your authority before exceeding that limit. If you wish to do so, we would ask you to indicate in writing the upper limit you would like to set.

If the claim reaches tribunal you will also be responsible for advocacy costs; i.e. the costs for the barrister to represent you.  Barrister costs range from £1,000 a day to £1,500 a day depending on the seniority of the barrister; we will recommend a barrister to you based on the details of the claim being brought against you.  For a typical two day trial advocacy costs are therefore likely to be in the region of £2,000 - £3,000 plus VAT and travel costs if necessary.  We have excellent relations with both London and local barristers chambers and obtain very competitive fee rates. We are always aware you have a business to run and costs must both reasonable and transparent.

We appreciate that should a claim be brought against you, you will be keen to move forward with as little disruption as possible.  As you can see, the time scales and costs are dependent on the particular claim and circumstances; you can contact us today on 023 8071 7717 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk to discuss your case with you.

 

To speak to one of our experts please call us