Employment Tribunal Fee Guidance for Individuals (Claimants)
Our highly experienced team of 22 qualified employment solicitors are capable of dealing with every type and complexity of employment tribunal claim. The biographies of all of our employment lawyers are available on our website.
Our current trainees and paralegals in the team are also likely to be involved in some aspects of your case under supervision.
Jeanette Wheeler is a Partner and Head of the Birketts Employment Team and local office team supervision is managed as follows:
The cost of pursuing an employment tribunal claim against your employer will depend on a significant range of factors, not all of which can be anticipated at the outset of the matter, including: complexity of the legal and factual issues; the amount of documentary evidence involved; the number of witnesses involved and the length of any hearing; whether the claim settles early or late in the process; the way the case is defended by the respondent (your employer/former employer); whether there are preliminary issues which need to be resolved by the employment tribunal before a case can go to a full merits hearing (for example 'out of time' points, employee status issues etc), as well as other factors which cannot be easily anticipated. Some cases may be listed for a separate remedies hearing and costs hearing.
The total cost will also depend on the seniority of those dealing with the matter. Our costs are charged according to the hourly rate(s) applicable to the fee earner(s) carrying out the work. The hourly rates of the employment team range from £115 plus VAT* to £310 plus VAT* per hour. We will advise you of the fee rates applicable to your matter at the outset.
Cases which include discrimination claims, maternity or pregnancy related claims, holiday pay claims, TUPE, whistleblowing and other more complex claims in addition to ordinary unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal (this is a breach of contract claim relating to the non-payment of notice monies) will fall to be estimated individually and are outside the scope of this fee guidance.
Prior to bringing a claim against your employer in the employment tribunal you are required to contact Acas to allow a conciliator to explore the possibility of early conciliation. We can assist you at this early stage should you wish us to. Where matters have not been resolved at that stage, you will be issued with a certificate (certificate number) by Acas which must be stated on any Employment Tribunal Claim Form (sometimes referred to as an ET1). You should be aware that strict time limits apply to bringing a claim in the employment tribunal; generally the claim must be received by the tribunal within three months of the date of termination or the date of the act forming the basis for the complaint. We can advise you of the relevant time limit(s) for the purposes of your claim.
Once your employer (or former employer) has received a copy of the Claim Form from the tribunal, they will have 28 days to file their defence on a Response Form (referred to as an ET3).
Estimated costs for bringing an unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claim
Our costs for pursuing a straightforward claim for unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal on your behalf against your employer (or former employer) at a one day employment tribunal hearing with no more than two witnesses are likely to be in the range of £4,000 plus VAT* to £6,000 plus VAT* plus the barrister’s fees for undertaking the advocacy at the hearing on the day. The barrister’s fees are likely to be between £1,500 plus VAT* and £3,000 plus VAT* per day (depending on the seniority of barrister, complexity of the case and volume of documentation) plus the barrister’s accommodation and travel expenses (known as 'disbursements').
The fee range quoted above will include:
- taking detailed information from you about what happened, obtaining all of the related emails, letters, texts and other documentary evidence which is in your possession and which relates to the matter and issues in dispute and reviewing these
- drafting and submitting the Claim Form (ET1) and the Schedule of Loss (setting out the losses you have incurred and will be claiming from your employer)
- reviewing and checking the information on the Response Form (ET3)
- advising on the merits (strengths and weaknesses) of your claim and the defence
- speaking to Acas and liaising and negotiating throughout to ascertain if an agreement can be reached without the need for a hearing and concluding any settlement terms
- preparing a list of documents in accordance with the tribunal’s directions (usually issued once the Response Form has been accepted)
- agreeing a list of issues/agenda and a bundle of documents for use at the hearing with the respondent or their legal representative
- preparing and drafting and exchanging your witness statement with the other side. Considering the respondent’s witness statement(s) and drafting short supplementary statement (if required) to cover issues arising from the respondent’s witness statement(s)
- instructing a barrister
- attendance (normally by a trainee) at the merits hearing of your claim and advising you on the outcome.
The above are an indication of what’s required and if some of the stages above are not required, the costs will be at the lower end of the fee range quoted above. We will always provide you with an individual cost estimate at the outset of dealing with a claim, once we know further details of what the claim involves. You are also advised to check whether you have access to any assistance with legal costs, for example under the terms of your household insurance policy. Please note, we do not offer clients a free initial meeting to discuss the claim.
The fee range quoted above will not include:
- issuing an application and attending a hearing for interim relief on your behalf on the basis that your dismissal was automatically unfair (eg for reasons relating to trade union membership or activities, health and safety, whistleblowing and other ‘automatically unfair’ reasons)
- dealing with and responding to requests for further and better particulars of the claim issued on behalf of the respondent
- applications to the employment tribunal for compliance with directions, compulsory witness orders
- applications to amend the claim in light of further information
- making or defending a costs application
- complex preliminary issues such as whether the claim is in time or establishing employment status
- preparing for a longer hearing with more witnesses and witness statements required
- preparing detailed or multiple supplementary witness statements
- bringing a more complex automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you allege you were dismissed after blowing the whistle on the employer
- dealing with allegations of discrimination or other claims in addition to the unfair dismissal
- any judicial or other formal mediation
- giving any tax or pensions advice
- preparation and attendance at preliminary hearings
- preparation and attendance at a remedies or costs hearing
- advising and representing in relation to any appeal
We will keep you up to date with the costs incurred and inform you of any material change to the estimate as your matter progresses.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees and barristers’ fees and costs. Where these are payable we will ask you to put us in funds before we make the payment on your behalf.
How long will my matter 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, how busy the regional tribunal centre is and how quickly it can resolve any preliminary issues and list your claim for a full hearing. If the claim proceeds to a final hearing it is likely, based on current listing times, that your case will be listed to be heard around six to eight months from the date the claim was lodged. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to update you on timescales once we have more information and as the matter progresses. It is likely to be significantly longer than this for cases requiring two or more days at the final hearing and/or any additional hearings.
*VAT is currently charged at 20%.