How much does bringing an employment tribunal claim cost?

Boys & Maughan has many years’ experience of bringing employment tribunal claims and that experience shows that no two cases are the same. Some can be resolved much more quickly and cheaply than we expected and some can go on to become complicated cases requiring a week before a Tribunal for a decision to be made.

You will need to decide whether the cost of proceeding with a claim outweighs the value of it. We can give some guidelines on price based on our experience and will always give you an idea of overall cost before we proceed with your case. We can also agree limits with you that we don’t go beyond so that you know what you are committed to.

We firmly believe that unless you instruct us to the contrary our job is to resolve your case as quickly and cheaply as possible and we will always do our best to keep costs down for you. Your case will be much cheaper if we can agree a settlement at an early stage. Sometimes conciliation with ACAS or mediation will help to achieve this.

It is also important that your case is dealt with thoroughly and by experts and so we will not always be the cheapest or use the least expensive specialists to deal with your case as that is likely to be a false economy but we will always try to use the right people for your case and fully discuss with you how much you want to spend.

Different ways of funding your case
We can sometimes look at different ways of funding cases. It may be that you have legal expenses insurance to cover your case. Sometimes this is included with your house or motor insurance. We will always be happy to advise you on whether you have this.

Sometimes we can offer a no win no fee arrangement although this is relatively rare in employment tribunal cases because costs are generally not recoverable form the opponent and the costs can easily exceed average damages. We might be able to agree that our costs are payable at the conclusion of the case. More commonly we can agree the fees for different parts of the case and sometimes deal just with certain parts of the case such as preparing the documents to issue your case or helping you prepare your witness statements.

Hourly rates
Paying a solicitor on an hourly rate to deal with the whole of a claim in the tribunal or court is the commonest method of funding. Our hourly rates vary from £120 to £240 + VAT per hour depending on qualifications and experience. The barristers we use usually vary from £75 per hour to £300 + VAT per hour.

Other expenses
There are currently no fees for bringing employment tribunal cases. The government’s introduction of employment tribunal fees in 2013 was later ruled unlawful but that does not mean there may not be fees in the future.

There are not usually any other expenses unless we have to obtain medical records for which the typical cost is around £50 per set of records. If we instruct an expert, for example a doctor, to report on a disability or an occupational health expert to advise on reasonable adjustments, then we will obtain estimates in advance for you and agree their fees with you before we instruct them.

How much does representation at an employment tribunal cost?
If we bring or defend an employment tribunal case they generally fall within three categories which are explained below. The description is intended as a guideline only and we will provide specific advice on our fees tailored to your individual case when we first meet you and on an ongoing basis throughout your case.

Straightforward cases
For the most straightforward cases with a one telephone hearing and a final hearing lasting no more than one day we would anticipate your overall costs, including a barrister representing you at trial, would be between £5,000 and £10,000 + VAT. These cases would usually have a monetary value of the claim of up to £10,000.

Cases of medium complexity
For cases that are more complicated and have one or two case management hearings at the employment tribunal together with a final hearing lasting between one and two days, we would anticipate total costs of £10,000 to £20,000 + VAT including a barrister to represent you at trial and drafting some of the case papers. These case would usually have a monetary value of the claim of £10,000 to £30,000.

Complex cases
For very complicated cases which last up to a week in the employment tribunal we would anticipate costs of £20,000 to £30,000 + VAT. There are of course exceptionally complicated cases which could involve more work and the costs of these could be even higher but we would discuss this with you throughout your case. These cases would usually have a monetary value of the claim of over £30,000.

We can prepare you for different parts of the case without dealing with the overall case. So, for example, we might prepare the tribunal papers for issuing the claim or the defence or we can help you prepare your documents for the case.

Issuing your claim
This would include taking instructions, reviewing the documents, drafting the ET1 form and particulars of claim, agreeing it with you and submitting it to the tribunal. In medium and complex cases we may instruct a barrister who will make an extra charge, although our charge should be lower as we will not be drafting the document:

Simple case: £750 - £1,000 + VAT

Medium case: £1,500 - £2,500 + VAT

Complex case: £3,000 - £5,000 + VAT.

Disclosure of documents
This will include reviewing all the documents that are likely to be relevant in the case. We will advise you on what documents need to be disclosed, draft the list of documents to be disclosed and provide it for you to disclose to the opponent.

Simple Case: £500 - £750 + VAT

Medium case: £1,000 to £1,750 + VAT

Complex case: £1,500 to £5,000 + VAT.

Preparation of witness statements
This will include meeting with each witness and taking a statement. Agreeing the statement with the witness and preparing the statements for providing to the opponent and advising you on exchange of statement. Costs can often be kept down by each witness preparing their own draft themselves before we meet with them. Simple cases will involve one or two witnesses. Cases of medium complexity will often involve between two and five witnesses and complex cases could involve more than five witnesses or very long detailed statements.

Simple cases: £750 to £1,250 + VAT

Medium cases: £1,250 to £2,500 + VAT

Complex cases: £3,000 to £10,000 + VAT.

Trial bundle preparation
This will include preparing all the documents and putting them together in a bundle of documents which can be used at trial. We will liaise with your opponent to agree the contents and, once agreed, will add page numbers and an index and provide you with the required number of copies to provide to the Tribunal for the trial.

Simple cases: £750 - £1,000 + VAT

Medium cases: £1,000 - £2,000 + VAT

Complex cases: £3,000 - £5,000 + VAT.

Representation at Tribunal
In most cases we would instruct a barrister to represent you at the final hearing. These costs include liaising with you and the barrister prior to the hearing and discussing the case in a meeting before the final hearing to make sure you know what to expect. In medium and complex cases we will liaise with the witnesses before the hearing and sometimes meet with them. Where we are using a barrister we will instruct the barrister. In simple and medium cases we will not usually attend the Tribunal hearing where we have instructed a barrister but in more complex cases we would attend with the barrister.

Simple cases: £2,000 - £4,000 + VAT

Medium cases: £4,000 - £10,000 + VAT

Complex cases: £15,000 to £30,000 + VAT.

It is very difficult to give you a timescale because much is dependent on external factors such as availability of the tribunal to hear your case. In general, however, we would usually have to issue your claim within three months of the effective date of termination of an employee’s employment. A defence is usually due 28 days after service of the claim.

A Tribunal will often set a first hearing within three months to six months of the case being issued. If there is no first hearing, as in the simplest of cases, then a final hearing would usually be within six to 12 months of issue. In more complex cases we would anticipate a final hearing within 12 to 24 months of issue but that will really depend on the tribunal timetable. We will always try to move your case on as quickly as we can or as quickly as you want us to and will always strive to bring it to a conclusion sooner through settlement unless you advise us to the contrary.

Settlement Agreements
Settlement agreements are usually prepared by employers on termination of an employee’s employment where they want to ensure that no future claim can be brought against the employer. Sometimes they might be used to settle a particular issue during employment so that no claim can be brought in relation to that issue.

We regularly advise employees before they enter into these agreements. Advice from a legal adviser is required for the employee for these agreements to be valid. For most cases our fees will be a minimum of £350 + VAT and depend on the complexity of the case.

We do not usually see advice to employees costing more than £1,500 + VAT for the more complicated cases where a senior executive is involved.

In most cases the employer will contribute towards an employee’s legal costs for providing advice on the settlement agreement and we will try to keep our costs within that contribution, although this is not always possible.

We regularly draft settlement agreements for employers and generally our fees are between £500 and £2,000 + VAT depending on the complexity of the case and the level of employee.