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Legal Costs for Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal Claims

Costs for Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal  claims:

The claim if Unfair Dismissal is a statutory claim under the Employment Rights Act 1996. The claim of Wrongful Dismissal is a breach of contract claim.

Unfair Dismissal claims must be brought in the Employment Tribunal, where legal costs are not normally recoverable, even if entirely successful. Wrongful dismissal can be brought in the Employment Tribunal, if the value of the claim does not exceed £25,000. Wrongful dismissal claims can also be brought in the civil courts, where (depending on the value of the claim) legal costs may be recoverable if you are successful. Equally, if you are unsuccessful in the civil courts, you might be liable for the other sides’ legal costs.

We are unable to provide a fixed fee for Unfair and Wrongful Dismissal claims, as they can vary substantially in the complexity, value, number of witnesses and preparation time. Our normal hourly rate is £210+VAT per hour (£252 per hour including VAT).

The main stages of either an Unfair or a Wrongful Dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal is:

  1. Receive instructions from you, assess the merits of the claim, and advise. This might take 2 to 4 hours for a straightforward claim.
  2. If appropriate, seek a negotiated settlement before the issue of proceedings. This might take 3-6 hours if the other side are willing to negotiate at this stage
  3. Issue the Employment Tribunal claim / submit a Response to the Claim. This might take 4 to 8 hours.
  4. Comply with disclosure of any documents in your possession or control relevant to the claim. Depending on the number of documents and the nature of the claim, this might take 2 to 10 hours for a relatively straightforward claim.
  5. Provide a Schedule of Loss for Claimants (the money you are claiming). This might take 1-3 hours.
  6. Represent you at a Preliminary Hearing (normally avoided if the claim is a straightforward unfair dismissal claim). This might take 4 to 8 hours depending on the nature of the hearing. Alternatively we may instruct a barrister to conduct the advocacy at such a hearing. His or her fee would need to be agreed at the time.
  7. Prepare and exchange witness statements. This can vary substantially, depending on the complexity of the factual issues, the number of witnesses, the number of documents and other factors. This could take 5 to 45 hours, and in some cases, even longer. However for Claimants, in a straightforward unfair dismissal claim, this may take between 7 and 14 hours work.
  8. Represent you at the full merits. This will depend on the number of days the case has been listed for. Even simple unfair dismissal claims are often listed for two or three days possibly longer. Preparation and attendance at the hearing might be up to 28 hours for a hearing lasting three days.
  9. Alternatively, if we instruct a barrister to represent you at the full merits hearing, the cost of that barrister will depend on a number of factors including the complexity of the claim and the seniority of the barrister who we instruct on your behalf.
  10. Represent you at a remedies hearing. Including preparation, this might take 8 to 16 hours.
  11. Throughout, liaise with you, the other side, the Tribunal other parties. This can take more time than you may think and could require 30 or more hours of our time.

In theory therefore, in an unfair dismissal listed for 3 days, these various stages might approach 150 hours, which at £210+VAT per hour might therefore cost £31,500+VAT (£37,800).

However very often costs will be very substantially less. For a straightforward unfair dismissal or wrongful claim, it would be budget for between £8,500 and £17,000 including VAT.

We will confirm our estimate of costs to you following our first meeting and will update you periodically as the case progresses.

We will always consider and discuss means of resolving the claim in a more cost effective manner, which may include seeking a negotiated settlement or mediation.

Out of Pocket Expenses: Depending on the nature of the claim, you may also have to pay for out of pocket expenses (disbursements) which might include:

  1. Photocopying or printing costs
  2. The barristers fees (see above)
  3. Expert report (uncommon in a straightforward dismissal claim)
  4. Court fees (Employment Tribunals do not currently require parties to pay fees to pursue a claim)

We will liaise with you before incurring any significant cost or disbursement.

No Win No Fee: In the majority of cases, we will not be able to accept instructions on a ‘No Win No Fee’ basis (otherwise known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or Damages-Based Fee Agreement)

Timescales: Seeking a negotiated settlement before the issue of proceedings may (if successful) take two weeks. Employment Tribunal proceedings, from the date you instruct us, to the date of a remedies hearing, may take six to nine months. This depends mainly on how quickly the Tribunal can list the case

See also Solicitors Regulation Authority

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