This is usually the first question that most people have when considering the risks and benefits of bringing an employment tribunal claim. It is particularly important to understand the likely costs of starting litigation in the employment tribunal as the general rule is that each party bears their own costs – regardless of who, ultimately, wins. Unfortunately, as each case is different, it is very difficult to give a very precise figure at the outset; we set out below some guidelines for our charges.
Our approach to employment tribunals
It’s fairly rare for one of our cases to go all the way to a full hearing in the employment tribunal, unless that is our client’s wish, as our objective is always to resolve disputes to our clients’ satisfaction while incurring as little legal expense as possible. However, there are times when starting a claim is a very good way of applying pressure on an employer who is reluctant to engage. Conversely, employers may want a case to go to tribunal out of principle or, for tactical workplace reasons.
We can usually agree fixed fees on all our work, such as the various stages involved in running an employment tribunal claim. Such fees will be bespoke in every case, but we set out guidelines as to what costs might look like below.
When settling a claim it is very useful to know what the likely cost of taking a claim to the tribunal – and defending one – will be. Researching the likely costs incurred by your opponent is also highly relevant to a party’s negotiating position and all law firms should publish this information for unfair and wrongful dismissal claims.
The more time consuming a case, the more it will cost. There are several factors that make the employment tribunal process more time consuming for everyone. These include:
- the number of claims brought
- the type and complexity of claims brought
- the number of witnesses involved
- the length of history and amount of documentation involved
- the amount of time the hearing is listed for
- how co-operative the opponent is
- how professional the opponent/their advisers are
Taking a case of unfair or wrongful dismissal, time spent will also depend on whether there are any additional claims (for example vicitimisation, discrimination or whistleblowing) and whether there are complicated calculations for losses.
Costs in unfair and wrongful dismissal cases
The normal range of fees you can expect if you instruct Springhouse are as follows:
Simple case: (one day, one claim, one witness for each side) – £5,000 – £10,000 (plus VAT)
Mid-complexity case: (2-3 days, 2 claims, 3-4 witnesses) – £10,000-£20,000 (plus VAT)
Complex case: (4-5 days, 3+ claims, 4+ witnesses) – £20,000-£30,000 (plus VAT)
What is included?
Progressing a case through the employment tribunal involves many steps and is labour intensive, both for the lawyers and the parties themselves. We have written a separate guide about the various steps involved, and which would be included with these fees.
What wouldn’t be included?
There may be some work leading up to issuing proceedings, involving for instance having an initial meeting with us, reviewing documentation for this, raising a grievance, writing ‘open’ or ‘without prejudice’ letters, or attempting a negotiated exit with a settlement agreement. These will have been quoted and charged separately.
There may be other charges, most notably barrister’s or other expert’s fees, which will have to be paid separately.
We usually find it is far more cost effective for you to use a barrister for any hearing that may end in your winning or losing your case. Barristers are specially trained and experienced in tribunal advocacy (including cross-examining witnesses and speaking to the judges).
Their fees will vary depending on where they work and their experience level, but likely fees are:
Simple case: £1,000-£3,000 (plus VAT)
Mid-complexity case: £2,000-£5,000 (plus VAT)
Complex case: £4,000-£7,000 (plus VAT)
Our fees are also likely to be subject to ‘reasonable usage’ restraints in terms of our liaising with you and your opponent, and to events that we couldn’t reasonably foresee.
Progressing a case can also be a lengthy process. Although settlement can be achieved within weeks, a simple case may take over 6 months to be heard, a mid complexity case possibly over 9 months, and a complex case a year or over.
If you would like any more information about our fees contact us; we can explain everything.