On 6 December 2018 the SRA introduced pricing transparency rules for certain areas of law meaning that law firms now have to publish some of their prices online. One of those areas is the conduct of employment tribunal cases for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims.
Employment cases and the way in which they are priced depends heavily on a number of key factors relating to the case such as the complexity of law, facts, evidence, the number of witnesses involved and most importantly the number of days of tribunal time required for the full hearing. Therefore, we strongly suggest that if you are interested in our services you speak to us to see what bespoke service we can offer you or your business rather than relying solely on the information below, which only sets out the range of our charges by way of illustration.
If you choose DWF Employment, who will represent you?
Our management team has well over 100 years of collective experience in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to employment. The team is currently listed within the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners (legal directories) and it is noted for its excellence within its field of expertise. For further information please visit www.legal500.com or https://www.chambersandpartners.com/ and search "DWF Employment".
In terms of who would specifically act on your behalf that would depend on the nature of the claim. Our aim is to always complete each task to the highest possible standard but for a competitive price so we have a wide spectrum of talent at our disposal to achieve this overall aim. We are currently a team of approximately 45 fee-earners. Simple cases and tasks would be undertaken by junior lawyers and more complex work by the more senior members of the team.
Within our team our ten partners each have a minimum of 15 years' experience. All of our people are also fully trained and supervised. For further details on the employment team, including experience, please visit the people section of our website and search "employment" under "all services".
Our fees for unfair and wrongful dismissal cases
These charges will depend on a number of variables including the complexity of the case as outlined above.
Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal:
Simple case: £5,000 plus VAT (£1,000) to £7,500 plus VAT (£1,500)
Medium complexity case: £7,500 plus VAT (£1,500) to £12,500 plus VAT (£2,500)
High complexity case: £12,500 plus VAT (£2,500) to £50,000 plus VAT (£10,000) or higher in exceptionally complex matters
The ranges set out above are exclusive of costs for representation at the hearing. Should a member of the DWF employment team represent you at the hearing the likely cost will be between £1,200 plus VAT (£220) and £2,500 plus VAT (£500) per day of the hearing. Further details of the options and cost of representation are set out under the "Disbursements" heading below.
Examples of factors that could make a case more complex:
- A lengthy and/or complex factual scenario
- 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 the employee's employment status (if this is not agreed by the parties)
- The number of witnesses and documents
Please note that the above estimates are based purely on unfair and wrongful dismissal claims and exclude all other claims, including: discrimination, whistleblowing, health and safety, Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, and union activity claims.
If you wish to have a team member attend the hearing as well as an advocate (for note taking and tactical advice during the day), there will be an additional charge of approximately £750 plus VAT (£150) to £1,250 plus VAT (£250) per day. Please note that these figures are based on a relatively junior member of the team attending and a fee being agreed with you. If a request was made for a more senior member of the team to attend, the fees would be higher. Generally, we would allow one to five days for a hearing depending on the complexity of your case.
Please note that we have a number of arrangements with legal expense insurers for tribunal work which is dealt with outside of the above structure.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees or counsel's fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to make it easier for you.
When a case goes to a hearing we offer our clients a range of options with regard to representation. The options include:
1. The fee earner in the team providing representation (please note this is not a disbursement and the estimated costs are set out above).
2. DWF Advocacy – DWF's internal advocacy department.
3. External counsel.
Counsel will charge a fee for preparation of the case and the first day of the hearing (known as a brief fee) and a "refresher fee" for each additional day of the hearing. The brief fee can vary depending on the experience of the advocate but as an estimate can be between £750 plus VAT (£150) to £2,000 plus VAT (£400) and the refresher is estimated between £650 plus VAT (£130) to £1,000 plus VAT (£200). We will discuss the various options with you to ensure you have the best possible representation.
If any other disbursements are incurred we will, of course, advise you of these charges in advance and many disbursements will be charged at fixed prices once we have discussed your specific requirements.
The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:
- Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers, and advising you on merits 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 whether a settlement can be reached
- Preparing the claim or response
- Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party
- Exploring settlement 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
- Preparing bundle of documents
- Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology, and/or "cast list"
- Preparation and attendance at final hearing, including preparing instructions to counsel
The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs.
How long will my matter 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 one to two months. If your claim proceeds to a final hearing, your case is likely to take 8 to 12 months. 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.
To summarise, cases vary so much in complexity and scope that speaking to us to discuss our services and bespoke pricing in greater detail is the best step you can take. We will have a short initial telephone call with you free of charge to understand the details of your case and see how we can help.