Pricing: Bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal in the UK

In accordance with SRA requirements on pricing transparency, we set out below our approach to fees for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal in the UK. The figures below are indicative only and we will provide a bespoke fee estimate (which could be less or more depending on our level of involvement/the client objectives) for any specific matter upon which we are instructed. We are open to discussing a range of different charging models with clients and our approach is to provide value and create efficiencies within the client’s legal/HR team whichever fee model we agree upon.  As a broad guide, our fees (i.e. excluding Counsel’s fees and other disbursements) will depending on the complexity of the issues involved and will typically fall within the following bands:

 Simple caseMedium complexity caseHigh complexity case
Fee estimate
Based on hourly rates*
£15,000 - £25,000£25,000 - £35,000£35,000 - £50,000
Charge for attending a final hearing**
Based on £2,000-£2,500 per day
1 – 2 days
£2,000 - £5,000
2 – 4 days
£4,000 - £10,000
3 - 5 days
£6,000 - £12,500
VAT£3,400 - £6,000£5,800 - £9,000£8,200 - £12,500
Total£20,400 - £36,000£34,800 - £54,000£49,200 - £75,000
Disbursements 
Counsel fees***

As Counsel are independent of our business please note that these estimates are experience-based and will not, for example, account for any amendments to their rates – over which we have no influence.
Between £1,500 and £15,000
VAT£300 - £3,000
Total£1,800 - £18,000

*Hourly rates:

Partner £400 to £500 plus VAT  (£480 to £600 including VAT)

Associate/Senior Associate £235 to £450 plus VAT (£282 to £540 including VAT)

The fees quoted above do not include cases involving allegations outside of unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal, such as discrimination, which can in some instances be more complex than claims based solely on allegations of unfair or wrongful dismissal (and therefore result in higher fees).

Please also note that the above fees are unlikely to include settlement negotiations (albeit they could), depending on the stage at which those negotiations take place and how protracted the negotiations are.

For litigation claims outside of the UK, please contact us to discuss the matter and indicative fees.

There are certain factors that could make a case more complex – for example:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues, such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties), strike-out or deposit order applications and requests for specific disclosure of certain documents
  • The approach and litigation tactics adopted by the other party or their representatives
  • The number of witnesses and documents
  • Where the case involves issues relevant to automatic unfair dismissal (for example, if an individual is dismissed after blowing the whistle or seeking to assert a statutory right)

**Final Hearing charge

There will typically be an additional charge for attending a Final Hearing of £2,000 to £2,500 per day (excluding VAT), if required. Generally, we would allow 1 to 5 days for an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim, depending on the complexity of the case.

***Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Counsel’s fees will vary significantly, depending on the experience of the advocate.  These will typically comprise:

(a) a brief fee (which covers preparation and representing you on the first day of the Final Hearing); and

(b) a daily refresher fee (which covers each subsequent day of the Final Hearing).

We can obtain estimates from a range of Counsel, for your consideration and approval.  As a broad indicator, you should budget for fees of between £1,500 and £15,000 (excluding VAT).

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
  • Preparing the claim or response documents (as applicable)
  • Reviewing and advising on the claim or response documents from the other party
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss or counter schedule of loss (as applicable)
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • Preparing disclosure and exchanging documents with the other party
  • Preparing and agreeing a bundle of documents for the final hearing
  • Preparing draft witness statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
  • Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
  • Preparation and attendance at a Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel
  • Liaising with Counsel, the client, the witnesses and representatives on the other side throughout.

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages above are not required, the fee may be reduced. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs.

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 4 to 6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6 to 9 months, depending on the Tribunal’s schedule and the availability of a Judge. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.  In some instances, Preliminary and Final Hearings may be postponed at short notice, which may result in costs increasing.

Our team has experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to Employment Tribunals, acting for both the employer and the employee in bringing and defending claims. The team has particular expertise working for employers in defending complex employment litigation both in the Employment Tribunal and the High Court.

We have 16 members of the team who may work on your matter:

Dominic Holmes, Partner

Jo Edgley, Partner

Peter Finding, Partner

Christine Berry, Partner

Rachel Ashwood, Senior Counsel

Razia Begum, Senior Associate

Kim Wedral-Rooke, Senior Associate

Kate Ledwidge, Senior Associate

Scott Glacken, Senior Associate

Shelley King, Associate

Dominic Wrench, Associate

Kate Martin, Associate

Alix Beese, Associate

Katie Allen, Associate

Jessica Pinto, Associate

James Murray, Associate

Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by one of the Partners in the team. Click here to view the profiles of our Employment team.