Costs for employees

The best legal advice can be expensive – we won’t pretend it is easy for everyone to easily afford to pay – especially if you are about to lose your job.  That’s why we have different ways to let you to get expert employment law advice without worrying about the cost.

Your first legal advice is always free. We will work out if we can help you and then take it from there.

If you want to instruct us to help you, there are different ways to get you specialist employment law advice without worrying about the cost.

We can work on a guaranteed fixed fee, capped costs, or at an agreed hourly rate.

Philip McCabe and Andrew Egan are specialist employment law solicitors and charge between £195 and £225 per hour plus VAT.

Depending on your case, we may be able to work for you so that your insurer pays or on a no-win, no-fee basis.

Funding your instructions

Settlement Agreements

We guarantee you won’t have to pay us anything when your employer makes a contribution towards costs on completion of the Settlement Agreement. They pay for your legal advice – usually between £250 and £500 plus VAT.

You will get the same excellent service no matter how much your employer is contributing. We will do everything we can to get you the best deal possible for you. If we exceed their contribution towards costs, we won’t ask you to pay the balance.

Legal Expense Insurance

Many of our clients will have legal expenses cover for a dispute as part of their buildings and contents insurance. It is generally the best option to follow if you have it.

We will help you apply to the insurer to cover legal costs at the start. As soon as we sign the insurance agreement with your insurers, funding will be in place.

You have the right to use any solicitor you choose. If your insurer tries to compel you to use a solicitor from their panel, please refer them to us and we will insist that you instruct a solicitor of your choosing.

Fixed Fees

If fixed fees are required, we can provide and estimate once we understand the case and are able to define and agree the specific work you require us to carry out.  Sometimes we can fix fees for specific stages of the case or claim.

No-win, no-fee

We are always willing to consider your case on a no-win no-fee basis. Put simply, there is nothing to pay if we don’t get you a settlement or win at Tribunal. It is often an attractive option at a time when your financial security is uncertain and other ways of paying aren’t available.

Many employment lawyers don’t like working on a no-win no-fee basis because the risks are too high. Whilst risk is clearly an important factor, we have acted for employees and senior executives for many years and are well placed to judge what those risks are.

How it works is simple: our fees are an agreed percentage of the settlement or Tribunal award. If the case is not settled or you don’t win at Tribunal, you do not pay us a penny in fees.

We like to be open and fair so, if your employer has already made you an offer, we will only apply our percentage to what we have managed to negotiate on top of their offer. We think this is a fair way to be paid for the work we do and results we achieve.

Not every case is appropriate for a no-win no-fee arrangement, but we will do our best to accommodate you if this is your preferred way of instructing us. We will not usually charge for our time to consider whether your case is appropriate. If we have to, we will give you an estimate in advance.

We will always explain all your options. If it is better for you to agree a fixed fee or use an insurance policy, we will tell you from the outset.

Reducing and avoiding legal costs

We will always advise you on your options to avoid and save legal costs. These may include settling a claim on the most cost advantageous terms, advising or supporting you with self-representation, restricting or limiting evidence to reduce the time at a Tribunal Hearing. 

Initial consultations are always free, and we might be able to give advice:

  • to avoid the need to instruct a solicitor
  • to support with an application to an insurer who may be able to assist with the case and/or the costs of a case.
  • urgent action may need to be taken because delay could be prejudicial to your case
  • we can explain the basic steps and the costs likely to be involved and a rough cost benefit analysis can be carried out.  This will enable an assessment to be made as to whether or not the case is likely to be of sufficient value to justify legal fees being incurred.

We will always explain all your options. If it is better for you to agree a fixed fee or use an insurance policy, we will tell you from the outset.

Tribunal claims – how much will my case cost?

Every case is different.  Some cases may require a one-day Hearing and others may require Hearings that may run into several weeks.  It is therefore impossible to give a clear indication of the likely costs in a general advice statement such as this. 

Further, many cases may not simply involve unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal but often have other claims linked to them such as discrimination, victimisation, unpaid wages and contributory conduct.  

Unfair dismissal is where an Employee alleges the Employer has not behaved in a fair and reasonable manner in the way in which they have gone about the dismissal.

Wrongful dismissal is where the employer acts in breach of contract in dismissing the employee – usually by failing to give or pay the correct notice.

As a basic guide:

  • Simple case: £2,000 – £7,500 (excluding VAT)
  • Medium complexity case: £7,500 – £15,000(excluding VAT)
  • High complexity case: £15,000 – £50,000 (excluding VAT)

Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • 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 documents
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

Starting a simple claim

We will carry out an analysis of your case and an approximate valuation of the claim and if there appears to be merit in doing so, advising you in relation to the making of an Early Conciliation referral to ACAS.  This step is usually mandatory if you wish to later go on to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal. 

To assist and support potential claimants in this process, we offer a fixed fee of £300 plus VAT to handle the Early Conciliation process.  

Drafting your claim

We will review the history of the dispute case so that we can understand the basis of the claim and investigate the merits of the claim with you and advising you of the potential chances of success and obtaining from you relevant documentary evidence to support your claim together and drafting and issuing your claim with the Employment Tribunal (called an ET1) – £1,000 to £1,500 plus VAT.

Reviewing your ongoing claim and advising on Employment Tribunal process

We will consider the response/defence (ET3) that the Employer files with the Tribunal and take your instructions on it, advise you of the merits of  your claim and any appropriate steps that you should be taking.  

We may need to ask the employer to make admissions, clarify their defence or make applications to the tribunal to strike out their defence is it seems particularly week.  The likely fees for this part of your claim can range from  £500 to £1,500 plus VAT. 

Sometimes the Tribunal may decide to hold a Preliminary Hearing to agree how the case will progress – or the Employer, if they believe your case is weak may ask the Tribunal to hear an application to strike out your case or ask you to pay a deposit into court to permit you to continue.

Having to pay a deposit can serve as a “cost warning”. If you continue and lose you will forfeit the deposit and may be at risk of having to pay the Employer’s costs  

The parties may also be required to complete a Case Management Agenda prior to the Preliminary Hearing.  This information will enable the Tribunal to understand your claim and to help it manage the case and decide how many witnesses can be called, how long the trial is allowed to last, how much evidence there is and when witness statements are exchanged.  They usually take place by telephone but sometimes they are heard in person at the Tribunal. The cost  may vary between £600 and £2,200 plus VAT depending upon the complexities and the location of the hearing and whether it is dealt with by telephone or in person. 

Disclosure of evidence

Tribunals will usually require the parties to disclose evidence relevant to the case to the other side. We will deal with disclosure of documentation and  inspect or review  the documents received from the employer and then advise. For  simple case, this will be in the region of £800 to £1,600 plus VAT. 

Witness Statements

Preparing  relevant witness statements for your claim and exchanging them with your employer before the Hearing will cost in the region of £500 to £2,000 plus VAT dependent upon the number of witnesses and how complicated the case is.

Hearing Bundle

The Tribunal usually orders the Respondent employer prepare the Hearing bundle for the Tribunal.  However, it is important that you ensure that the bundle is prepared correctly and contains all the relevant documents to enable the Tribunal to make its decision. Cost will vary between £250 to £700 plus VAT depending on the size of the bundle of evidence.

The Final Hearing

Preparation for representation at the Hearing will range £750 to £1,250 plus VAT dependent upon the complexity of the case.

If we are to represent you or attend with you at the Hearing, costs will range from£1,000 to £1,500 plus VAT per day depending on where the Hearing is being held.

Disbursements – Fees payable to third parties

These are fees or expenses paid to third parties. There are currently no court fees payable to issue a claim. At present, there are no fees payable to the Employment Tribunal. 

However, there may be expenses or fees payable during your case and these may include travelling expenses, payment to another party for photocopying and courier services, witness expenses, expert medical reports or GP records. Barrister’s fees if Barristers are instructed. 

Sometimes it is more effective to instruct a Barrister to conduct a hearing rather than using a Solicitor.  Their fees range widely, depending on their experience and specialism.  The lowest fees tend to be around £800 per day plus VAT but for the very best specialist the fees can be several thousands of pounds.  It is very important to ensure the right Barrister at the right level of expertise is instructed. 

The Barrister’s fees are always agreed in advance and we always require you to pay them to us in advance of the Hearing.

If a case is particularly complicated, we may recommend obtaining a Barrister’s advice or opinion. Fees for this will vary depending on the Barrister’s experience and specialism. 

The awarding of costs in Tribunal Cases

Unlike most civil litigation, the winner in an Employment Tribunal case is not usually awarded their costs to be paid by the other side.  The general rule is that each party bears their own costs. 

If a party has behaved extremely badly during their conduct of the case, then sometimes costs may be awarded against them but this is extremely rare and cannot be relied upon. If the amount of those costs cannot be agreed between the parties, then they will be determined by the Tribunal. 

How long will my case take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 3 – 6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take between 26 and 52 weeks. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

 

FREE first advice

Have you ever wanted to just ask an expert employment law solicitor if they can help you, without worrying about what it may cost to contact them?

Get in touch

We’d like to talk to you to see what we can do to help, so please either call us anytime for free on 08000 614 631, email us or use the form below

Together we can work out what your next steps might be...in confidence, at no cost and with no obligation.

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