Our pricing for defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal.
Please note that our fees will attract VAT at the prevailing rate (currently 20%) as will costs that we incur as part of our work such as travel or copy costs. For other disbursement costs, VAT will be added where it applies.
Generally, when comparing, the less you spend, the poorer the service is likely to be. Edward Connor is an exception to this, because we are a charity. We are able to offer a better service at a lower cost. For example, the head of the employment department, Mark Jones, has specialised in employment law since 1996 at the highest level, but his highest hourly rate (£240 excluding VAT) is a fraction of what you would pay for someone with much less experience in a normal solicitors’ firm.
Lawyers costs generally reflect time spent. In order to defend a claim for wrongful or unfair dismissal, a sensible rule of thumb when estimating costs is that for each day in a final hearing it takes about two days’ preparation (drafting the defence, and dealing with all stages up to the final hearing). Based upon a 1 day hearing (and a day being 8 hours) a sensible estimate in a straightforward matter would therefore be 24 hours.
You can expect the time and cost to be higher in a more complicated unfair or wrongful dismissal case. A case could be more complicated because of the facts or the law involved. It could also be because the Claimant is someone whose personality or actions make the process complicated (for example because they cannot recognise where they are being unreasonable).
Please note that different principles may apply when defending other claims, such as discrimination. This guide applies only to defending claims of unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal. (Please note that “constructive dismissal” is not a claim, but a way of establishing dismissal in order to pursue a claim of unfair and/or wrongful dismissal).
Simple case: that is typically a 1 day hearing and 2 days preparation for each day in hearing, total 3 days (24 hours) at £135 – £240 per hour = £3,240 – £5,760 (excluding VAT).
Medium complexity case: that is typically a 2 to 3 day hearing and 2 to 2.5 days preparation for each day in a hearing, total 6 to 10.5 days (48 to 96 hours) at £135 – £240 per hour = £6,480 – £23,040 (excluding VAT).
High complexity case: that is typically a 3 to 5 day hearing and 2 to 3 days preparation for each day in a hearing, total 9 to 20 days (72 to 160 hours) at £135 – £240 per hour = £9,720 – £38,400 (excluding VAT).
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties and are additional to our charges. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. There are no standard or ‘usual’ disbursement charges, as they are specific to individual cases.
We normally do our own advocacy, and the cost of this is included in the above estimates. At times, it may be possible or necessary for advocacy to be undertaken by an external lawyer (a barrister). A junior barrister may be cheaper (about £200 to £300 excluding VAT per hour for advice, and between £1,500 and £3,000 excluding VAT per day in a hearing), but a senior barrister of similar experience to members of our team is likely to be significantly more expensive (about £400 – £800 excluding VAT per hour for advice, and between £3,000 – £6,000 excluding VAT per day in a hearing).
Disbursements include travel costs we may incur if you instruct us to attend a hearing or meeting (and photocopying costs if you instruct us to produce/copy a large volume of documents, such as a hearing bundle). Travel costs would be at the cost for public transport use and at the published HMRC rates for car mileage.
The estimates set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim before an Employment Tribunal, following receipt of a claim:
- Reviewing and advising on a claim you have received from a former employee
- Preparing a response (defence) to that claim
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing to deal with directions only (that is clarifying the issues and setting out a timetable)
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing to determine an issue, for example is the individual an office holder or an employee. Where there is such a Preliminary Hearing, that means it is likely to be a more complex case and the duration of the Preliminary Hearing should be added to the duration of the hearing that the above estimates are based upon
- Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
- Preparing bundle of documents
- Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
- Preparation and attendance at a Final Hearing
The stages set out above are an indication. If some of stages above are not required, that will mean less time is needed, which will be reflected in the cost. You may wish to handle some aspects of defending the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This may help reduce cost.
Our charges are based only upon time spent. Therefore, where a matter is resolved before a final hearing, the cost will be less.
How long will my matter take?
From receipt of a claim, it can normally take about 6 to 18 months to have it concluded at a final hearing at an Employment Tribunal. A claim can be settled at any time, where the parties agree terms. A claim can also be withdrawn or struck out before a final hearing.