Defending a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal

The following illustrates our approach to defending claims of unfair and wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal where such claims are not connected with issues such as discrimination, whistleblowing or asserting a statutory right.

Typical legal costs

Not all the costs mentioned below will necessarily be incurred if it is possible to settle your case and a large number of cases do settle without making it to a Tribunal Hearing.

In our experience the cost of advising and representing an employer in defending a straightforward claim addressing only wrongful dismissal, up to the point immediately before a Tribunal Hearing commences, will be in a range from £5,000 to £9,000 (excluding VAT).

In our experience the cost of advising and representing an employer, in defending a straightforward claim addressing only unfair dismissal, up to the point immediately before a Tribunal Hearing commences, will be in a range from £8,000 to £12,000 (excluding VAT).

These typical costs are based on hourly rates of £210 to £280 per hour (excluding VAT).

Our fees could be higher than stated above if the case is a complex one. Factors that could make a case complex and increase costs include, but are not limited to:

  • Defending a claim by an unrepresented employee
  • Consideration of a complex element of law
  • Dealing with an extensive amount of documentation
  • Drafting statements for and/or dealing with a large number of witnesses
  • A need to seek further information about a claim
  • A need to make amendments to a response to a claim
  • A need to address preliminary issues
  • A need to make or defend a costs application
  • Defending a claim for automatic unfair dismissal in connection with a transfer of an undertaking

In such circumstances, we will keep you fully up to date on fees and revise our estimates, as the case progresses.

On average, each day for attending a Tribunal Hearing will cost be between £1,500 and £2,300 per day (excluding VAT).

Generally, you should expect a typical Tribunal Hearing to take one to three days, depending on the complexity of your case. Some complex cases can be longer.

Key stages

The fee structure set out above covers all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim and applies to work after receipt of claim submitted to the Employment Tribunal: 

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on the chances of mounting a successful defence and likely compensation to be paid if not successful (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
  • Preparing and submitting the response form
  • Considering the schedule of loss submitted by the employee
  • Exchanging documents with the employee and agreeing the contents for the bundle of documents to be used at the Tribunal Hearing
  • Preparing the bundle of documents to be used at the Tribunal Hearing
  • Interviews for witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
  • Reviewing and advising on the employee’s witness statements
  • Agreeing a list of issues
  • Preparation for a Tribunal Hearing
  • Instructing a barrister, if they are to be engaged
  • Advising on and exploring and negotiating settlement throughout the process

This does not include applying for a Tribunal Hearing of more than one day in length, the preparation of a chronology, skeleton arguments or a list of the key people who feature in the case.

Timeframe

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of the claim depends largely on the stage at which the case is resolved and how soon the Employment Tribunal can schedule a Tribunal Hearing. Currently, the Employment Tribunal can schedule a Tribunal Hearing for a date between six to nine months from when a claim is submitted.

The initial date for listing will be provided when the claim is sent to you by the Employment Tribunal. This initial date will usually assume that the Tribunal Hearing will only take one day. If the Tribunal Hearing will take more than one day then the timeframe is likely to increase.

 

Issues relating to the handling of all claims

 

Alternatives

You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can be arranged according to your individual needs with the costs tailored accordingly.

Expenses

These will be referred to as disbursements and are the costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties.

There are currently no fees payable in the Employment Tribunal but costs for such things as travel expenses and fees for expert witnesses may be incurred. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process and will inform you if VAT is payable or not.

Normally we will present your case at a Tribunal Hearing but in very complex cases it may be that, after consulting with you, a barrister (also known as counsel) is engaged to do this. Counsel fees will be regarded as a disbursement with the costs of counsel dependent on the complexity of the case.