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Employment Tribunal claim for employees

If you wish to bring a claim against your employer or former employer for unfair or wrongful dismissal, we understand you will be feeling uncertain about the future and will have many questions.  We can support and represent you throughout your claim, giving you the right advice for your particular situation. 

In terms of funding, there are two primary options open to you; legal expense insurance cover on a home contents insurance policy or you may decide to pay privately.  Legal aid not available for employment disputes. In some limited circumstances we may offer a ‘damages based agreement’ if your case is suitable; at the time of your initial consultation we will discuss each of these options with you.

Initial consultation

Our Employment Litigation team has over 30 years of collective experience representing employees at employment tribunal, with particular experience in unfair dismissal and discrimination claims.  You can see our team listed below with their fees 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 60-90 minutes in duration, we will discuss your potential claim with you and confirm your eligibility to bring a claim based on the evidence, the legal time limits and your length of service.  We will explain your legal rights, prospects of success and a range of other relevant matters you need to be aware of before starting a claim.  

Costs explained

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 Paralegal/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 £170 + VAT (@20%). Throughout your claim with us you it will also be necessary for you to engage with our Legal Secretary, Sam Grant

The rates may also vary if you have a legal expenses insurer covering your fees.  If this is the case we will agree a rate with the insurer which is negotiated at the outset.  These rates are lower than private fee rates because of the frequency of instructions and the financial support provided by a major insurer throughout a claim. An insurer will not necessarily cover all your legal fees.

Without knowing the details of your particular claim it is difficult to estimate the time that will be involved in representing you, and therefore the overall cost as this will be determined by the complexity of your claim.  Based on our years of experience, a typical case of unfair dismissal will incur between £7,500 and £9,000 of our fees plus VAT (@20%) and advocacy costs over a period of some 12 to 18 months.

At the start of your claim we will provide you with an overview of the work we will be undertaking on your behalf with an estimate timescale and relevant costs taking into account your own particular situation.  During your claim, we will stay in contact with you to update you with any developments, as well as any changes that will need further work. 

A straight forward claim for unfair dismissal would arise if there are no issues with your length of service or time limits and there are no further applications made after preliminary hearings. 

Complications that would increase the time spent on your claim and therefore your overall costs would include:

  • If a preliminary hearing is required.
  • If there are complex claims, such as discrimination or whistleblowing.
  • Where there are applications to tribunal for specific orders to be made.
  • If further hearings are required due to a disability claim.  In this situation, there will be more directions issued by the employment tribunal, as well as the need for medical evidence and expert witnesses.
  • If judicial mediation is required.
  • If there is an excessive number of witnesses, documents to read or email chains.
  • If we need to apply for a reconsideration of the judgment or wish to appeal.


What is the process of making a tribunal claim against my employer?

Once you have instructed us to proceed with your claim, our fee includes the following work on your behalf: 

  • Writing to your former employer and seeking to negotiate a settlement. 
  • Liaising with ACAS regarding Early Conciliation with a view to negotiating a prompt settlement.
  • Draft the necessary documentation to file the claim at Tribunal within limitation.
  • Represent you at a preliminary hearing if arranged by the Tribunal.
  • We will review the defence once received and advise you in relation to it.
  • Directions are issued from the Judge with a timetable for the claim; either upon filing the claim or after a Preliminary Hearing by telephone conference call.
  • In accordance with the issued directions we will prepare and submit a schedule of loss.
  • The next step would be to produce a list of all relevant documents and obtain the Respondent’s documentation as well by mutual exchange.
  • A trial bundle will then be produced.
  • We ensure witness statements are written and ready for use in good time before the tribunal trial date.
  • We would generally then instruct counsel to represent you at the final trial if required.
  • Provide all necessary support and guidance before, during and after the trial.

Unless otherwise requested, our fees will not include:

  • Dealing with any taxation implications
  • Advising you in relation to state benefits
  • Any work necessary to enforce any awards.


Advocacy costs?

In addition to our costs, if your claim proceeds to a tribunal, there will also be advocacy costs. This additional cost is for an independent barrister to represent you at the tribunal and will vary depending on the seniority level of the barrister. A barrister will be appointed based on the claim complexity and length of the trial. 

A barristers fees typically range from £1,250 to £2,000 plus VAT (@20%) a day, depending on their experience. There will also be a ‘brief fee’ of approximately £2,000-£2,500 plus VAT (@20%). The brief fee is for preparation and for day one of the trial. 

For a typical two-day trial, advocacy costs are likely to be between £3,250 and £4,500 plus VAT (@20%) and travel costs, if necessary. We will consult you before any instruction is made, during which time we will discuss with you the barrister we would recommend based on our experience with them and secure a fee quotation well ahead of trial.

Alternatively, we have the experience and expertise ‘in-house’ to represent you if your claim proceeds to the tribunal. Costs typically range from £1,500 to £2,000 plus VAT (@20%) for a one-day trial. For a typical two-day trial (generally our maximum trial length), advocacy costs are likely to be between £3,000 and £4,000 plus VAT (@20%) and travel costs, if necessary. 

If your trial is listed as a ‘multi-day’ hearing (longer than two days), we will provide you with a separate fee quote for this, as the complexity of your case will need consideration. We will generally instruct a barrister with a case listed longer than two days.

Third party payments

In addition, it may be necessary to make payments (known as ‘disbursements’) to others on your behalf and which are payable by you. These may include items such as experts’ fees, travel (charged at 40p per mile), 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 @20% 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.

To find out more about how we can support you through your claim, visit our Employment Law pages or you can contact us on 023 8063 9311 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk

To speak to one of our experts please call us