Making or defending an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal

We advise both individuals and businesses in bringing and defending employment tribunal claims. The extent of our involvement and your costs depends on how far the claim progresses through the tribunal before it is resolved. We will work with you to minimise the impact of a claim on you or your business.

Our fees for unfair or wrongful dismissal claims vary depending on the complexity of the case and the amount of work we have to do.

We usually work with clients from initial contact through to the final hearing or earlier resolution. The majority of cases settle before a final hearing; resolution can be achieved at any stage of the process.

Employment Tribunal claims are not a ‘one size fits all’ as the amount of time and cost will depend on so many different factors. As each case is different, without knowing the details of your case, we set out below indicative costs for typical claims. Once instructed, we will provide you with a fee estimate for the work required in your case.

Simple case: £8,000 to £20,000 plus VAT
Medium complexity case: £20,000 to £35,000 plus VAT
High complexity case: £35,000 to over £45,000 plus VAT

You may have various funding options, such as cover under a legal expenses insurance policy. We can check this for you.

As indicative costs in defending claims, we estimate the following:

  • In defending a straight-forward claim such as for notice pay which does not last more than a single day’s hearing at the Tribunal, costs are likely to be in the region of £6,500 to £8,500 plus VAT, though in particularly difficult cases, where the length of the Tribunal hearing exceeds one day, the costs might be above £12,000 plus VAT.
  • Straight-forward claims involving unfair dismissal and a hearing not longer than one day will generally cost in the region of £14,000 to £17,000 plus VAT.
  • More involved cases, particularly where the hearing lasts for more than one day, are likely to cost between £20,000 and £30,000 plus VAT.
  • Discrimination claims tend to take longer in terms of preparation for the hearing, and the hearing itself is often longer. As a guide, the hearing of a case of medium legal complexity is likely to involve a hearing of four to five days, and involve costs of £50,000 to £70,000 plus VAT.

These indicative costs do not include the costs of a barrister representing you at the hearing, they would be charged in addition.

As indicative costs in bringing claims, we estimate the following:

  • In a straight-forward claim such as where your only claim is that your former employer has failed to pay your notice pay and which does not involve more than a single day’s hearing at the Tribunal, costs are likely to be in the region of £5,000 to £7,500 plus VAT, though if the case lasts more than one day, the costs might be above £10,000 plus VAT.
  • Straight-forward claims involving unfair dismissal and a hearing not longer than one day will generally cost in the region of £12,000 to £15,000 plus VAT.
  • More involved cases of unfair dismissal where the hearing lasts for two to three days are likely to cost £20,000 to £30,000 plus VAT.
  • Discrimination claims tend to take longer to prepare for hearing, and the hearing itself is often longer. As a guide, the hearing of a case of medium legal complexity is likely to involve a hearing of four to five days, and involve costs of £40,000 to £60,000 plus VAT.

Indicative costs of instructing a barrister to defend/present a claim of unfair dismissal only, with a hearing lasting two days are:

  • Junior barristers (up to c5 years’ experience as a qualified barrister) – £3,000 to £4,500 plus VAT.
  • More experienced barristers (c5-10 years’ experience as a qualified barrister) – £5,000 to £7,000 plus VAT.
  • Highly experienced barristers (more than 10 years’ experience, but not a KC) – £7,500 to £12,000 plus VAT.

Our Team

Our team of specialist employment law solicitors has years of experience in dealing with employment disputes. Our solicitors have experience in all aspects of employment law and we dedicate ourselves to ensuring our knowledge stays up to date, in order to give you the best service possible. We have a proven track record in achieving successful outcomes for our clients. Our team are:

Helen Boddy – Partner

Kate Matthews – Partner

Michal Stein – Senior Associate

Olivia Canessa Davies – Paralegal


How you will be charged

We have three qualified solicitors and one paralegal who will be used for work such as compiling bundles and putting together files, but will not be asked to provide legal advice to you. You will not be charged for the supervision of a qualified solicitor or the paralegal.

We charge on a time basis and our current hourly charge out rates (which are reviewed annually) are as follows:

Helen Boddy (Solicitor/Partner) £325 plus VAT at 20%
Kate Matthews (Solicitor/ Partner) £325 plus VAT at 20%
Louise Elliott (Solicitor/ Senior Associate) £295 plus VAT at 20%
Dominic Maillot (Paralegal) £100 plus VAT at 20%

As we charge on a time basis then the more frequently you call or email us then the higher the charges. Our estimates below are based on full and timely co-operation with us, both from you as our client and also our opponent.

Our time is in units of 6 minutes which means that if you are on the telephone for 2 minutes you will be charged 1 unit, 10 minutes you will be charged 2 units.

We do not charge for time spent travelling but if we work whilst travelling then this is chargeable.

Hourly rates and time spent on a matter are only a starting point. We are committed to providing high quality service at good value.

Our estimates assume we will be carrying out work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:

  • Taking your initial instructions and conducting an initial review of relevant papers and facts
  • Advising you on the merits, prospects of successful resolution and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
  • Entering into pre-claim conciliation, where this is mandatory to explore the possibility of a settlement
  • Preparing the claim or response and relevant documents
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s response
  • Exploring and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
  • Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/ or a cast list
  • Instructing Counsel (a barrister) to appear at the hearing (where appropriate and following a discussion with you)
  • Preparing for the hearing
  • On-going liaison with you by emails, meetings or phone calls
  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • The number of drafts and discussions needed to finalise the Tribunal documents
  • The approach of the other party to the dispute
  • Where the other party is not legally represented
  • 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 how statements are drafted
  • The volume of documents and whether all are supplied at the outset
  • Allegations of discrimination or whistleblowing which are linked to the dismissal
  • The number of days the Tribunal needs to hear the claim
  • The necessity for a further hearing if the original hearing does not finish in the allocated time or if there is a separate hearing to decide on remedy

During the course of a claim, a number of other expenses are likely to arise, including:

  • Representation at a hearing. Often, it is most cost effective to instruct Counsel (a barrister) to present the case at the final hearing. Barristers’ fees will depend on the experience of the barrister and the complexity of the case
  • A pre-hearing conference with Counsel
  • The cost of any expert advice or evidence such as actuarial advice
  • Witness familiarisation training
  • Bulk photocopying
  • Courier fees
  • Travelling expenses to and from meetings and hearings at the standard fare
  • Accommodation costs if overnight accommodation is needed

The time it takes to bring a claim to a final hearing varies according to its complexity, the parties’ attitudes and tribunal workload.

If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, the case is likely to take a few weeks.

If the claim proceeds to a final hearing, the case is likely to take 4 – 18 months.

The majority of cases are resolved before a final hearing through settlement negotiations.

Please contact Helen Boddy for further information