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 an hour appointment, we will discuss your potential claim with you and confirm your eligibility to bring a claim based on the 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. 

Our fees above are slightly higher than our normal hourly rate as they also include time to prepare for the initial consultation so we are aware of the facts of your claim and can therefore utilise the full hour giving you advice and reviewing the next steps.  Some follow up after the consultation is also included, depending on your case.

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 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 and Janet Potter

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 and typically between £190 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 throughout a claim.

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 £7,000 and £9,000 of our fees plus VAT and advocacy costs over a period of some 9 to 12 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 second preliminary hearing is required.
  • If there are other claims, such as discrimination or whistle blowing.
  • Where there are applications made to amend the claim.
  • Where there are applications to tribunal for specific orders to be made.
  • If further hearings are required due to a disability.  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?

As well as our costs, if your claim proceeds to tribunal there will also be advocacy costs, which are costs paid to the barrister to represent you in tribunal.  The cost will depend on the seniority of the barrister, which will be determined by the complexity of your claim, and the length of the trial.  Barrister costs typically range from £750 a day to £1,250 a day depending on the seniority of the barrister.  For a typical two day trial advocacy costs are therefore likely to be in the region of £1,500 - £2,500 plus VAT and travel costs if necessary.  We will consult you before any instruction is made to a barrister, during which time we will discuss with you the barrister we would recommend based on our experience.

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, 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.

To find out more about how we can support you through your claim, visit our Employment pages here or you can contact us on 023 8071 7717 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk

To speak to one of our experts please call us