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Costs – What to expect

After taking initial instructions, you will be provided with an indication of the work that might be required on your case along with a cost estimate. The matters in which we are instructed often result in early settlement but sometimes they develop into more complicated matters and our cost estimates will change.  Costs are discussed as each case progresses and clients are given regular updates of cost estimates.

Many of the cases we take on can be resolved in a matter of days although more complex cases will take longer.

Costs of unfair and wrongful dismissal cases in the Employment Tribunal

Solicitors Regulation Authority (‘SRA’) Transparency Rules

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requires solicitors to publish information about some of the services we provide. In Averta’s case we are required to publish cost information about advising and representing clients in unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims in the employment tribunal.

At Averta, we act usually for senior employees, directors, consultants and partners or small and medium sized employers. For a variety of reasons, it is rare for us to deal with claims involving only unfair or wrongful dismissal. Most of the cases we deal concerning unfair or wrongful dismissal are more complex, involving discrimination, whistleblowing, TUPE and a whole range of other issues.

On average over the course of a year, we would expect to deal with less than one case involving only unfair dismissal that will reach a full hearing at an Employment Tribunal.

We almost never deal with cases involving only a wrongful dismissal claim in an Employment Tribunal. In our experience, wrongful dismissal claims are usually issued in conjunction with other types of claim.

On the occasions when we are instructed in an unfair dismissal or a wrongful dismissal claim the matter is usually settled long before a hearing through negotiation.

However, the SRA rules say (in italics) that costs information must include:

(a) the total cost of the service or, where not practicable, the average cost or range of costs;

We do not undertake any work on a fixed fee or contingent basis, such as ‘no win – no fee’. We undertake so few cases involving only unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal we cannot give an average cost for them, however a straightforward matter involving a one-day hearing would cost in the region of £4,000 to 10,000 plus VAT. A longer, more complicated case will cost more, and our costs estimate will reflect the different circumstances:

A moderately complicated case, heard over a few days involving 4 or 5 witnesses, might cost between £10,000 and £25,000 plus VAT.

The most complicated cases, for example those heard over two weeks or more with 6 or more witnesses and expert evidence, might cost from £25,000 up to £100,000 plus VAT.

(b) the basis for your charges, including any hourly rates or fixed fees;

We would usually charge on an hourly basis depending on the seniority of the fee earner, which in turn depends on the nature of the claim. This can range from £95 per hour for a paralegal to £350 per hour plus VAT for a senior lawyer.  We will give estimates before undertaking work and ensure the appropriate people are undertaking the work so costs are well managed.

(c) the experience and qualifications of anyone carrying out the work, and of their supervisors;

We are a specialist employment law firm. Our fee earners range from junior paralegals to solicitors with decades of experience at the highest levels of work.  Comprehensive information on the experience and qualifications those working on a case can be found in the team section of the website.

(d) a description of, and the cost of, any likely disbursements, and where the actual cost of a disbursement is not known, the average cost or range of costs;

Disbursements usually include items such as travel costs and photocopying charges. If a barrister is instructed, you will have to pay their fees. Barristers are only instructed after discussion with you and cost estimates will be usually be obtained prior to them being instructed. Disbursements could include the cost of expert witnesses such as medical experts or IT specialists.

(e) whether any fees or disbursements attract VAT and if so the amount of VAT they attract;

Fees and most disbursements are subject to VAT at 20%.

(f) details of what services are included in the price displayed, including the key stages of the matter and likely timescales for each stage, and details of any services that might reasonably be expected to be included in the price displayed but are not;

Dealing with a tribunal claim can involve some or all of the following:

  • Meeting client and taking instructions
  • Reviewing relevant documents
  • Negotiating with opponents, either direct or via ACAS early-conciliation scheme
  • Dealing with mediation hearings as appropriate, through judicial or third-party mediators, including preparation
  • Drafting the tribunal claim or response
  • Ongoing obligation to consider the possibility of settlement and the ‘overriding objective’ – advising as appropriate
  • Correspondence with opponents
  • Dealing with/preparing schedules of loss
  • Dealing with tribunal applications/ interim hearings including attending tribunal either in person or by telephone
  • Preparing lists of documents
  • Obtaining expert evidence, such as medical reports
  • Taking statements from clients and witnesses
  • Exchanging evidence and reviewing opponent’s case
  • Preparing bundles for hearing and agreeing with opponents
  • Regular reviews of the case as it progresses and advising on merits and value of the claim
  • Instructing counsel, as appropriate
  • Preparing skeleton arguments
  • Attending main hearing, including adjournments
  • Dealing with remedies if appropriate
  • Advising on the tribunal’s decision

(g) if you use conditional fee or damages-based agreements, the circumstances in which clients may have to make any payments themselves for your services (including from any damages).

We do not offer conditional fee or damages based fee arrangements.

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