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Employment Tribunals

Facing an employment tribunal?

The BPE Employment Law Team is very experienced in defending employment tribunal claims for companies. The profiles of the lawyers in our Employment Team (together with details of when they qualified and their areas of expertise) can be found HERE. Many employment tribunal claims settle before a final hearing, so you may not incur all of the costs associated with the stages below. However, some claims do make it to a final hearing, so it is important that our clients understand what our charges are likely to be should an employment tribunal claim go to a final hearing.

What are our likely fees for unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal claims?

We have set out below a fee estimate of our likely charges for running an unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal employment tribunal claim for you as an employer.

The explanation and estimates are broken down into the four areas of a typical employment tribunal claim:

Stage

Acting for employers

1.

£2000-£3000 plus VAT

2.

£2000-£3000 plus VAT

3.

£3000-£5000 plus VAT

4.

£3000-£5000 plus VAT


What do the 4 stages of an employment tribunal involve?

STAGE ONE:

This includes taking instructions from you on the tribunal defence, considering any necessary documentation, drafting the employment tribunal defence for you, submitting that defence and reviewing and advising on the claim or response from the other side.

STAGE TWO:

This includes preparing the necessary documents for a preliminary hearing in the case (there will almost certainly be 1 preliminary hearing with an employment tribunal judge before the final hearing) and instructing a barrister to represent you at that preliminary hearing.

STAGE THREE:

This includes all matters relating to the necessary disclosure of any documents, letters, emails or other correspondence relevant to the employment tribunal claim. This is normally quite a time-consuming process as you will be under an obligation to disclose all documents to your opposition whether they are good for your case or not.

It is likely that the employment tribunal will ask us on your behalf to prepare the tribunal bundle of documents. This is the bundle of documents which all the parties and the tribunal will rely on at a final hearing in the employment tribunal. This stage will also include considering a schedule of loss which your employee will have been asked to prepare.

STAGE FOUR:

This includes the very important job of preparing witness statements for the witnesses you will call at a final hearing. This is normally a time-consuming stage as it is very important that the statements are accurate, that they correspond correctly to the bundle of documents and that they expertly put forward your defence. In addition, this stage will include us liaising with a barrister who is appointed to act on your behalf at a final hearing and providing them with full written instructions to act on your behalf. We will also include reviewing the other sides witness statements and, if necessary, preparing supplementary witness statements. Finally, any list of issues, chronology or cast list which an employment tribunal ask for will be included within this stage (it is normal however for this to be the responsibility of you, the employer).

What about settlement?

Many claims settle before a final hearing. Settlement can happen at any time. Any of the above stages will also include, if appropriate, a reasonable amount of time to explore settlement and negotiating settlement of the claim brought against your business.

Will the length of an employment tribunal hearing affect our fees?

Yes.

It is important to note that it is up to an employment tribunal judge to decide how long a claim for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal will take to be heard in an employment tribunal. More complex claims of unfair dismissal/wrongful dismissal (such as those claims relating to automatic unfair dismissal for whistleblowing) are likely to take much longer for an employment tribunal to hear than a more straightforward unfair dismissal claim for redundancy, for example. You should also be aware that the above table with the estimate of our fees is based on an employment tribunal final hearing of between 1 and 3 days. If the tribunal matter is listed for 4 or more days, it is likely that we will have to separately advise you as to our fees as longer hearing normally mean more complex cases.

Are barrister’s fees included in the above fee table?

No.

The above fee table does not include representation at any preliminary hearing or a final hearing. We will instruct an experienced barrister at the right level for the complexity of the claim against you to represent your business at a preliminary hearing and if necessary a final hearing. Before we instruct a barrister we will agree their fee with you. Below is an estimate of potential Barristers Fees:

 

Barrister Experience: 1-5 years

Barrister Experience: 10 - 15 years

 

Barrister Experience: 15 years plus

 

Half day preliminary hearing

£500

£1200-£1500

£2,000

Full day preliminary hearing

£900

£2,000

£3,000

1 day final hearing

£900

£2,000

£3,000

2 day final hearing

£1,750

£4,250

£5,500

3 day final hearing

£2,500

£6,000

£7,500


What about other types of employment tribunal claim other than unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal?

As set out above, the above table of our estimated fees only covers unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims. It does not cover any other type of employment tribunal claim such as equal pay, whistleblowing and any failures to collectively consult for redundancy or other purposes. We would be happy to defend these additional types of claim for you but would have to quote separately for them.

What other factors may affect our fees?

The above table of our fees is only an estimate. No two employment tribunal claims are the same. Factors in any employment tribunal claim you wish us to defend for you as an employer which would not fall within the above fee estimate table include:

  • Non-unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal (see above for further information).
  • Employment tribunal claims which progress to the Employment Appeal Tribunal or higher court.
  • Where your employee is part of a multiple claimant claim against you as employer
  • Where a claimant in an employment tribunal claim you are defending as an employer is a trade union or a body of elected representatives.
  • The fee estimate table above assumes that there will only be 1 preliminary hearing. If there are any additional preliminary hearings (for example if as an employer you wish to apply to have an employee’s claim struck out because it has no basis or you are asking for a deposit order for an employee to continue with their claim.
  • If you want us to become involved in ACAS early conciliation (this is where both parties try and settle a dispute before it gets to an employment tribunal) we will gladly help you but will charge for this separately.
  • If you counter-claim against the employee in your defence (for example you say your ex-employee owes you money) this is likely to result in a revised fee estimate.

Will you have to pay any fees to third parties (disbursements)?

Normally in straightforward unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal employment tribunal claims there are no third party fees to be paid (such as court fees or experts’ fees). The only third party fees you are likely to have to pay to defend a claim for unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal are your barrister’s fees, mentioned above.

How long will it take for you to defend an employment tribunal?

Generally, the employment tribunal claim will be heard in the nearest employment tribunal claim to where your staff member was employed. Some employment tribunal centres are busier than others. Because of this, there may be significant differences in the speed at which your employment tribunal claim progresses.

Generally, however, the following timescales will apply:

  • Once an employee has put in an employment tribunal claim you as the employer will have 28 days from when you are sent that tribunal claim to put in a defence.
  • A preliminary hearing will then be listed anywhere between 3 and 6 months after the claim is sent to you.
  • Anywhere between 4 and 6 months after the claim is sent to you the parties will have to:
  1. Send each other a list of documents they want to rely on at the final hearing;
  2. Send the other side any documents the other side want to see from your list of documents;
  3. Finalise and prepare the final hearing bundle of documents (this is normally the employer’s responsibility); and
  4. Prepare and exchange witness statements with the other side.
  • The final hearing date/s for your tribunal claim is likely to be anywhere between 6 and 12 months after you receive the claim.

 

We have taken all reasonable steps to ensure the price information set out on our website provides an accurate and realistic indication of the costs of obtaining certain legal advice today, but we may update the information at any time in the future.

Whilst we hope this information is helpful as an initial guide, we will provide you with a specific fee proposal and a copy of our standard terms of business when you instruct us to undertake work.