Employment Tribunal Services – Pricing Information
At Open Plan Law, we pride ourselves on resolving employment disputes without recourse to litigation. We offer proactive and experienced advice at an early stage and by having a commercial appreciation of the merits of a case, we believe (and our track record confirms) that the vast majority of potential disputes we deal with can be concluded swiftly and amicably. We are also firm proponents of the benefits of mediation and have considerable experience in this area.However, there are times when tribunal litigation cannot be avoided and in those circumstances we will handle those claims robustly and comprehensively to ensure that your interests are fully protected.
We do however understand that litigation can be stressful and that one of the key concerns is often the potential cost involved. We will provide you with a detailed cost assessment at the beginning of any instruction, reviewing the key stages set out below, so that you can consider your options carefully.
The key stages of any disputed claim are likely to be as follows:
- 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)
- Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
- Preparing a claim or response
- Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
- Preparing or considering a schedule of loss
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
- Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing or preparing a bundle of documents
- Taking witness statements, drafting 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 Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel
Factors that could make a case more complex:
- Any jurisdictional issues, such as whether the Employment Tribunal has the authority to hear the claim;
- Any cross-over with a High Court claim, where for example the wrongful dismissal claim exceeds the jurisdiction of the Employment Tribunal.
- 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
- A formal mediation process
- Any claims requiring expert evidence (most commonly medical evidence in a disability discrimination claim)
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
- The number of witnesses and documentsv
- The location of key witnesses
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim such as a dismissal where whistleblowing allegations are made or a dismissal predicated on health and safety grounds or following a business transfer.
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
The stages set out above are an indication and if some of stages above are not required, the fee will 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 in accordance with your individual needs.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court or counsel’s fees. At the moment there are no Employment Tribunal fees, but that is currently subject to Government review. Any fees will be discussed with you at the time of instruction. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process but will require money on account to do so in advance.Counsel’s fees are the most obvious disbursement that is likely to be incurred, as we recommend that you are represented by a barrister at any contested hearing, given their expertise in advocacy. Counsel’s fees do vary considerably, based largely on the experience and reputation of the advocate involved. We instruct barristers from all the leading barristers’ chambers and will provide a range of options for barristers once hearing dates have been established. By way of example, the prospective fees for a barrister from a leading Chambers in London, with four to six years relevant employment law experience, will usually be in the region of £2250-£3500 (excluding VAT) for attending a two day Tribunal Hearing (including preparation).
How long will my matter take?
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 and increasingly on the capacity of the Employment Tribunal system. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 1-4 weeks. If your unfair dismissal claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case may take between 6-18 months depending on the location of the Tribunal. 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 accordance with our obligations under the SRA transparency rules, we set out below some indicative examples of our costs for bringing and defending claims.
Simple case: £2,000 – £8000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)
Medium complexity case: £7500 – £12,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)
High complexity case: £15,000 – £30,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements)
How we can help you?
As set out above, we believe that most employment disputes can be avoided if appropriate advice is taken at an early stage.For individuals, this will involve reviewing your contractual and statutory rights and giving you an honest assessment of the value of those claims (taking into account the cost, time and risk of litigation for both parties), often against an offer of settlement made by your employer.
For our employer clients, we regularly review their contracts and handbooks to ensure that they are clear and up to date. Our clients also trust us to provide experienced and commercial advice at the outset of any proposed action that may lead to a potential liability. In return, we offer these clients discounted rates in the event that a matter does become contentious. We use the instigation of the ACAS pre-conciliation process as the trigger point for these discounted rates.
If you feel that you may benefit from a more proactive approach to managing your employment matters, then please do get in touch for a confidential discussion.
David Evans – Director
David qualified as a solicitor in 2000 and has specialised in employment law ever since. He has been independently recognised in both The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners for his work with employers and senior executives since 2015. During his career, he has advised a broad range of clients, from senior executives and owner managed businesses to major retailers, NHS Trusts and international investment banks on all types of employment tribunal cases up to and including cases that have reached the Court of Appeal.
Bethany Eaton – Paralegal
Beth is a post-graduate law student and has completed the Legal Practice Course. She has over two years’ experience gained in both private practice and the Legal department of a prestigious German car manufacturer. Beth works closely with the Directors on all aspects of its legal practice including Employment Tribunal litigation.