Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal Claims: Our Pricing Structure
This information is provided pursuant to the Transparency Rules which require solicitors to provide detailed information about prices of certain services. This includes information about unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims.
The Transparency Rules came into force in December 2018 and apply to unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims.
The information set out in this document is accurate as at December 2018 and is designed to provide a general indication of your likely legal costs based on our analysis of costs of similar cases over the last five years. However, costs vary considerably between matters depending upon the particular circumstances of each case and we will always endeavour to give you a personalised quotation at the outset of your matter.
An unfair dismissal claim arises when an employee asserts that they have been dismissed for an unfair reason or, if there is a fair reason for the dismissal, asserts that the employer has not acted fairly when carrying out the dismissal.
A wrongful dismissal claim is a type of breach of contract claim which relates to notice pay. An employee may bring a claim for wrongful dismissal if they believe that they have not been paid all of the notice to which they are entitled either under the Employment Rights Act or under their contract of employment (if the contract is more generous).
We have a specialist employment team who have been providing expert advice and assistance in employment related matters since 1999.
There are currently two people who may work on your matter. All work is supervised by Steve Walker, Director, Solicitor and Head of our Employment Department.
Steve Walker – Director and Solicitor
Steve is our Head of Department and has been handling employment matters since 1997. Steve carries out all aspects of Employment Tribunal work for both employers and employees, including representing clients at the Employment Tribunal and (if necessary) the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
Steve qualified as a solicitor in 1999 and has worked at Livingstons since that time.
Sue Crowe – Paralegal
Sue has been with Livingstons since January 1999 and has been working with Steve Walker since October 1999.
Sue currently works as a Paralegal, handling both company commercial and employment matters. Sue has twenty years’ experience in assisting with the preparation of Employment Tribunal cases and acts as initial point of contact for all new employment enquiries. Sue does not carry out advocacy at the Employment Tribunal but does assist with all aspects surrounding the preparation of Employment Tribunal claims.
In order to offer our clients the fairest possible price, Sue will carry out much of the routine work in unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims with Steve handling the more complicated claims, the more complicated aspects of simpler claims and any Employment Tribunal advocacy.
Although there are a number of other options for funding an Employment Tribunal claim, we offer three options:-
- Private paying. You pay us for the work we do calculated either by reference to our hourly rates (currently £275 per hour for Steve and £150 per hour for Sue) or by reference to an agreed fixed fee which is payable irrespective of the amount of work carried out on your case.
- Damages Based Agreements (DBAs). Under a Damages Based Agreement, we take a cut of any compensation which we secure for you either by way of a settlement of your case or at a final hearing if your case is successful. The amount we charge depends on the likely length and complexity of the case but is typically 35% of your compensation (inclusive of VAT). We cannot make a decision on whether we can take a case under a DBA until we are in full possession of all of the facts about the case. Although there are sometimes exceptions, this usually means that we cannot make that decision until we have lodged the Employment Tribunal claim form and received the Response (the employer’s defence). At that point, we are better placed to make an assessment of the merits and likely value of the case. We typically charge an initial fixed fee for getting the case to this point.
- Acting under the terms of an insurance policy. Some people have legal expenses cover as part of their home insurance policy and such cover sometimes covers Employment Tribunal claims. Although insurance companies often try to steer people towards their panel solicitors (who are rarely in this geographical area), individuals have the freedom to choose a solicitor under the terms of their insurance policy once a claim form is lodged with the Employment Tribunal. As with DBAs, we typically therefore agree an initial fixed fee to take the case to the point where the insurance funding kicks in, after which the insurance company will pay our fees by reference to their standard terms and conditions.
Our prices for bringing or defending claims for unfair dismissal for private paying clients are as follows:-
- Simple cases (those involving no more than one preliminary Case Management Hearing conducted by telephone and with a time estimate of no more than one day with the hearing taking place in Manchester or Carlisle):
£4,000 – £6,000 plus VAT
- Medium complexity cases (those involving additional heads of claim such as discrimination claims and/or those cases which will involve a hearing of two to three days at the Employment Tribunal Hearing Centre):
£6,000 – £7,500 plus VAT
- High complexity cases (those involving multiple parties and/or those involving very complex multiple claims and/or those which are listed for more than three days of Employment Tribunal time):
£7,500 – £9,000 plus VAT
Our prices for bringing or defending wrongful dismissal claims for private paying clients are as follows:-
- Simple cases (those which can be dealt with on the papers by the Tribunal as they are undefended or which involve a hearing of less than two hours duration):
£750 – £1,250 plus VAT
- Medium complexity cases (those involving a hearing of up to half a day and/or which involve consideration of accrued payments over a lengthy period of time):
£1,250 – £2,000 plus VAT
- High complexity cases (those involving complex contractual points, significant potential payments and hearings of one day or longer or which involve additional heads of claim such as discrimination claims):
£4,500 – £6,500 plus VAT
The initial fixed fee you will pay if we are handling your case EITHER under a possible DBA OR pursuant to your insurance policy (and the insurance policy does not kick in until the claim is lodged) is typically between £750 – £1,500 plus VAT, depending on the complexity of the case and the amount of paperwork involved.
If we then go ahead under a DBA, you will pay a percentage of any compensation we secure for you in addition to the initial fixed fee described above. The amount of the percentage is decided on a case by case basis and will be agreed with you at an early a stage of the case as possible.
If we then go ahead under the terms of your insurance policy, we will be paid by the insurance company at their prevailing rates. This will be in addition to the initial fixed fee described above.
There are a number of factors that could make a case less costly:-
- The other party withdraws or makes an early settlement (either directly with us or through the ACAS conciliation service).
- An otherwise complicated case is resolved as a result of Judicial Mediation (a process available in certain cases where the Employment Tribunal attempts to broker a settlement between the parties).
- A case in which significant admissions of fact are made which narrow the issues in dispute between the parties.
- A case which can be dealt with without the need for a face to face hearing at the Employment Tribunal.
There are a number of factors that could make a case more expensive:-
- Dealing with claims where the other party is a Litigant in Person (someone acting for themselves).
- Cases where it is necessary to make additional applications to the Tribunal to (for example) force disclosure of documentation, costs orders or orders to strike out another party’s case for non-compliance with Tribunal directions.
- If the case involves complex preliminary issues (such as whether an individual might or might not be a disabled person).
- Cases involving additional face to face Tribunal time.
Disbursements are costs which relate to your case but which we pay to third parties on your behalf (such as Court fees). We usually pay disbursements on your behalf to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Unless there is no alternative (for example, we are double booked or not available on the date of a hearing) we do not use Barristers to handle advocacy at Employment Tribunal hearings. Where Barristers have to be used, their fees are typically £1,500 plus VAT per day and this is paid in addition to our fees as set out above.
There are no longer any Court fees payable to bring Employment Tribunal claims, but Court fees may be payable in respect of wrongful dismissal claims brought in the County Court. The amount of the Court fee depends on the size of the claim.
What the Fee Covers
If you are paying an initial fixed fee with the intention of then having the benefit of insurance policy funding, your fixed fee will cover stages 1 to 3 below.
Where you are paying a fixed fee with a view to then entering into a DBA with us, your fixed fee will cover stages 1 to 4 below.
In all other cases, our fees will cover all stages set out below:-
- Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the paperwork and advising you on your options, the merits of the case and likely awards of compensation. Please bear in mind that these assessments are ongoing as things happen during the course of a case which may change our advice.
- Dealing with Early Conciliation with ACAS. This is a compulsory step before a claim can be lodged with the Tribunal and takes between four and six weeks. The purpose of Early Conciliation is to allow ACAS to explore whether there are grounds for an early settlement.
- Preparing and filing the claim form (if we acting for an employee) or preparing and filing a Response form (if we are acting for an employer).
- Reviewing the case upon receipt of a Response form (if acting for an employee).
- Liaising with ACAS on an ongoing basis.
- Dealing with case management orders from the Tribunal and, where necessary, attending Case Management Discussions.
- Preparing Schedules of Loss, Responses to Schedules of Loss (as applicable), lists of documents, Tribunal bundles, witness statements, lists of agreed issues, skeleton arguments and any other pre-hearing documents ordered by the Tribunal.
- Attending Preliminary Hearings as directed by the Tribunal.
- Liaising with the other party to agree the bundle of documents and timescales for the case.
- Preparing for the final hearing.
- Attending the final hearing and representing you at that hearing. If for any reason we cannot attend the hearing and have to use a barrister, their fees will be payable as a disbursement but we would reduce our fees to take account of the fact that we are not providing a service we intended to provide at the outset of the case. However as a barrister’s rate for handling a hearing is often more expensive than our rate, the amount of any reduction in our fees will not necessarily offset the barrister’s fees in full.
How Long will the Case Take
This is a difficult question to answer. Much depends on whether a case settles before a Tribunal hearing and, if it does not, how much Tribunal time is needed. The more Tribunal time that is needed, the greater the delay between bringing the claim and attending the final hearing.
In our experience approximately 70% of cases settle without the need for a Tribunal hearing and although Early Conciliation has led to some cases settling at a far earlier stage than used to be the case, it is still the case that settlements come late in the day – typically just before the hearing itself.
We therefore generally advise clients to expect nine months between taking the preliminary steps towards bringing a claim and attending the hearing itself.
Wherever possible, we will give you more tailored time estimates for your particular matter as the case progresses.