Costs for businesses

The best legal advice can be expensive – we won’t pretend otherwise.  That’s why we have different ways to allow you to get expert employment law advice without worrying about the cost.

We like to know how much something will cost in advance just as much as you do. That’s why we are always up-front and open about our fees from the outset. We will provide you with as much information on the potential likely cost of using our services as we sensibly can.

Your initial consultation is always free.

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. Concessions and discounts may be available to charities and start-up businesses.

Preparing and updating contracts of employment, workers agreements, consultancy agreements.

The amount of time it will take to draft an agreement or contract will depend on the complexity of the role and any additional clauses or protections your business requires.

  • Simple: £350 – £500 (excluding VAT)
  • Medium: £500 – £750 (excluding VAT)
  • Complex: £750 – £1,500 (excluding VAT)

 

Advising on post-termination restrictions or contracts.

The amount of time it will take to advise on contractual post-employment restrictions will depend on the complexity of the role, the restrictions sought and potential breaches of the employee.

  • Simple: £500 – £750 (excluding VAT)
  • Medium: £750 – £1,000 (excluding VAT)
  • Complex: £1,000 – £1,750 (excluding VAT)

 

Preparing and updating staff handbooks and policies.

  • Basic: £350 – £750 (excluding VAT)
  • Medium: £750 – £1,000 (excluding VAT)
  • Complex: £1,000 – £2,000 (excluding VAT)

 

Settlement agreements

Settlement agreements vary in complexity. The amount of time it will take to draft an agreement to meet your requirements will depend on the circumstances under which the employee is leaving and their contractual entitlements. Complex agreements for executives or senior employees can include post-employment restrictions, resignation from offices, share options and bonus payments.

  • Simple: £350 – £500 (excluding VAT)
  • Medium: £500 – £750 (excluding VAT)
  • Complex: £750 – £1,500 (excluding VAT)

 

Dealing with a Tribunal claim

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.

If you have an ongoing or potential claim against you, we will always advise you of the options available to save legal costs. These may include considering whether you have any litigation insurance, making an application to strike out a claim, particularly where it is weak, settling a claim on the most cost advantageous terms and self-representation.

If the estimated legal costs of defending the claim to a final Hearing are likely to be more than a potential award against you, we will always discuss the merits of a commercial settlement.

Funding your instructions

Legal Expense Insurance

Many of our clients will have legal expenses cover for a dispute as part of their commercial 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 may 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.

Charging on a time basis

This is our usual method of charging.  We will always discuss with you the cost of the work you want us to do in advance. Each client will have a different budget, resources and requirements.

Routine letters and telephone calls will be charged as units of 1/10th of the hourly rate. Lengthy letters and phone calls will be charged in accordance with the time taken. 

Fixed fees

If fixed fees are required, we can provide these once we understand the case and are able to define and agree the specific work to be carried out under the fixed fee arrangement.

Money on account and interim bills

If paying privately, we usually ask for money on account of costs before work is undertaken and we may produce an interim bill as the case progresses to avoid unforeseen large bills and to ease cash flow.  This enables our clients to manage the work that is carried out and therefore the fees that are incurred.

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

 

Defending a simple claim

Negotiations

If appropriate we can attempt to negotiate via the ACAS Conciliation Service to reach settlement of  the case on agreed terms. To negotiate and settle the case by way of a COT3 or other settlement documentation could cost in the region of £750 to £1,250 plus VAT.

Reviewing and responding to  the claim         

We will review the  Tribunal claim you have received, take your instructions, and obtain the relevant documents and evidence and then draft and serve your Response to the Tribunal (called an ET3). The likely fees for this part of your claim can range from  £750 to £1,500 plus VAT.

Advising on Employment Tribunal process

We may need to ask the claimant to clarify their claim or make applications to the Tribunal if it seems particularly weak. We can apply to the Tribunal to strike out the Claimant’s claim or seek an Order compelling them to pay a deposit into court as a condition of them proceeding.  

The deposit is a warning from the Tribunal and can deter a claimant from proceeding by putting them at risk of having forfeit the deposit if they proceed to trial and eventually lose.

The fees may vary from £500 to £2,000 plus VAT dependent upon whether it is by telephone, how complicated it is, or attendance at the Tribunal is required.

Preliminary hearings

Sometimes the Tribunal may decide to hold a Preliminary Hearing to agree how the case will progress

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 the claim and to help it manage the case, 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 claimant and then advising. For  simple case, this will be in the region of £800 to £1,600 plus VAT. 

Witness statements

Preparing relevant witness statements and exchange and service them on the claimant  before the Tribunal Hearing will cost between £1,000 to £3,000 plus VAT depending 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.  The cost will vary between £800 to £1,600 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 case 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.

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