Costs for Unfair Dismissal & Wrongful Dismissal Claims

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair and/or wrongful dismissal

The Principal at this firm, Sunita Knight-Webb, is a solicitor with over 20 years’ experience in advising on employment law matters. After graduating with a degree in Law from Cambridge University, she embarked on a pupillage with chambers before qualifying as a solicitor in 1999. Since then, she has specialised in employment law. She is responsible for supervising and carrying out work on Employment Tribunal claims. Fees are usually time-based, charged at the hourly rate of £300 plus VAT.

Key stages

Employment Tribunal cases are rarely alike and so we provide estimates of costs on a case- by-case basis, before starting work for you and at key stages of a matter which include:

  • 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). We can usually arrange an initial conference to advise you within one week of your sending us the relevant documents in your matter and our agreeing to advise you.
  • Entering into ACAS pre-claim conciliation to explore whether a settlement can be reached. The ACAS early conciliation period is for up to 6 weeks.
  • Preparing an employment tribunal claim or a response. 
  • Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party. Respondents are required to file their response within 28 days of the date the Tribunal sends them a letter notifying them of the claim and a copy of the claim form.
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process. 
  • Preparing a schedule of loss for claimants. The Tribunal usually orders that the claimant serves a schedule of loss within a timeframe of up to 4 weeks from the date of the order.
  • Preparing for (and representating you at) a Preliminary Hearing. 
  • Exchanging documents with the other party and preparing/ agreeing a bundle of documents. 
  • Preparing witness statements. The deadline for serving witness statements varies but is usually no later than 4 weeks before the start of the Final Hearing.
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements. 
  • Preparing and/or agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list. If the Tribunal orders a chronology and cast list to be served, the deadline will normally be 1 week before the hearing.
  • Preparation and representation at the Final Hearing. This will depend on the number of days the case has been listed for, and whether a seperate remedy hearing is listed. Even simple unfair dismissal cases are often listed for at least 2 days. 

You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice or assistance in relation to some of the stages.

Typical Costs

Every case is different but typically the costs of bringing or defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal will be as follows:

Simple case: £5,000 – £10,000 (plus VAT)

Medium complexity case: £10,000 – £20,000 (plus VAT)

High complexity case: £15,000 – £60,000 (plus VAT)

VAT is charged on fees and disbursements at the prevailing rate (currently 20%).

With our employment tribunal caseload, most claims settle without the need for a full hearing. If the case settles early, this will result in a significant cost saving.

Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • 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)
  • The number of witnesses and documents
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
  • Cases involving constructive dismissal

The range of overall fees set out above would include work on the above key stages and the costs of our attending and representing you at a Final Hearing.

Disbursements (costs payable to another person or organisation)

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as barrister’s fees, expert’s fees and travel costs. We generally handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

If you would like us to instruct Counsel (a barrister) to represent you at a hearing, Counsel’s fees will be payable by you in addition. Before instructing Counsel we obtain estimates of costs from Counsel’s clerk and your agreement to those costs. Counsel’s rates vary widely depending on their experience and seniority, and typically range from £3,000 to £15,000 plus VAT for preparation and representation at a 2 to 3 day unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal hearing.

Other typical disbursements are incidental costs such as travel costs and photocopying charges (£100 to £500 plus VAT).

In the past court fees have been payable on Employment Tribunal claims but at present no fees are payable.

How long will my matter take?

Employment Tribunal cases are rarely alike and so we provide estimates of time on a case- by-case basis, before starting work for you and at key stages of a matter.

Every case is different but typically the time taken to resolve claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal will vary widely depending on a number of factors including whether the claim settles early in the proceedings, and whether the case is listed for a single day or multi-day hearing. How soon the case is listed for hearing will also vary from tribunal to tribunal. If a settlement is reached during ACAS pre-claims conciliation, your case is likely to take between 1 and 6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a final hearing, your case is likely to take between 6 to 24 months from the date of receipt of the ET3 Response to the final hearing, although this is just an indicative guide.

No Win No Fee agreements

In the overwhelming majority of cases, we will not be able to accept instructions on a ‘no win no fee’ (damages-based fee agreement) basis. In the exceptional case that we offer a damages-based agreement, if you lose your case you do not have to pay us any fees but if you win your case or it settles, you will have to pay our fees based on a percentage (of up to 35%) of the damages you receive.