Employment tribunal litigation

  • Overview

    Timely, expert advice on all of the issues, from every angle.

    Since the abolition of Employment Tribunal fees, we have seen an increase in the number of claims brought. Significant awards are being made for successful claims, with average award values increasing.

    No matter how rigorous your employment policies and procedures and how proactively you mediate when things go wrong, it's sometimes impossible to avoid a situation escalating to an employment tribunal. When a tribunal becomes an inevitability, there's a real danger that your organisation's reputation can be damaged, not to mention the financial implications, if you don't dedicate the right resource at the right time.

    Expert advice and careful preparation to answer an employment tribunal claim are vital when your organisation finds itself in this situation – if the wrong decisions are made at the start, it may be too late to change approach once the tribunal is underway.

    Weightmans' employment team can offer sound advice from the outset to help maximise the likelihood of a positive outcome. You can be sure that each and every time we're called on, we'll start by instigating a careful planning process for you, not just considering what to say in response to the claim, but assessing which witnesses should appear and how their evidence will be helpful in defending the claim, with due regard to matters of reputational importance and any learning to be applied going forward.

    • How we determine our price

      This section applies to our advice to you where you are an individual or an employer involved in a claim for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal before an Employment Tribunal.

      Our Employment, Pensions and Immigration Department has multiple offices with nationwide coverage, and we conduct our own advocacy in Employment Tribunal cases. This enables us to maintain relationship care and conduct of every tribunal case from its origin right through to its litigated conclusion.

      There are many factors which may affect our fees, which will depend largely on the level of complexity of your case. We have set out below the fees that we would typically charge for handling your case:

      Fee (excluding VAT) What services are, or are not, included?
      Low complexity
      From £4,000 to £5,000
      Medium complexity
      From £5,000 to £6,000
      High complexity
      From £6,000 to £8,000
      In all cases, this will include taking initial instructions, pre-claim conciliation, drafting a pleaded claim or response, all case management steps, drafting witness statement(s), advising in respect of merits and options available and all preparation for and attendance at the Employment Tribunal hearing.

      Please note that the fee ranges stated above reflect the work that we would expect to carry out in respect of a typical case of the stated complexity, and is based on the following assumptions:

      • You are not bringing, or your former employee is not bringing, any claim other than the claim for unfair and/or wrongful dismissal. For example, there is no claim for discrimination.  If there is an additional claim, we will, of course, be happy to advise you accordingly, but our fees will increase.
      • The final hearing will be no more than two days.

      Why might our fee vary?

      Factors that may increase the complexity of your case and result in a change to the fee indicated above include:

      • If either of the assumptions listed above proves to be incorrect
      • If there is a need to interview an extraordinary number of witnesses and draft statements for them
      • If there is a need for any case management or any other preliminary hearing at Employment Tribunal and/or the length of final hearing is more than 2 days.

      Before you commit to paying, we will explain to you any variance from the indicative fee if this is apparent from the outset.  We will also keep you updated at all times if any of these, or other, factors are likely to result in an increase in our fee.

      What other costs may arise?

      You may have to pay certain expenses and other costs.  To the extent that such costs relate to amounts that we must pay to third parties, they are known as “disbursements”.  The costs and expenses most likely to arise are as follows:

      Nature of cost Amount (£) (exclusive of any VAT)
      Travel/accommodation and subsistence (only if required) Dependent upon location

      Funding options

      Not all of our clients will have to meet our fees, costs and expenses from their own pocket. You may, for example, have insurance cover. We will be happy to discuss with you your funding options at your first appointment.

      Timescale and key stages of the process

      From taking your initial instructions to final resolution of your matter will depend largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case will typically take 3-4 weeks to complete. If the claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 26-39 weeks. Typical factors which may influence the duration include:

      1. The complexity of the case and the length of the final hearing
      2. The manner in which the other party conducts the case
      3. The speed with which the Employment Tribunal can list the case for hearing.

      We will keep you updated at all times if any of these, or other, factors are likely to result in delay.

      Who will be dealing with your case?

      Your case will typically be handled by a solicitor in our Employment, Pensions and Immigration (EPI) team, supported as necessary by our trainees/paralegals. A solicitor acting for you may be described in correspondence as a “Partner”, an “Associate” or a “Solicitor”. An Associate is, generally, more experienced than a “Solicitor”. Our trainees/paralegals are not (yet) solicitors, and usually have no other formal legal qualification.

      We will always ensure that the solicitor acting for you has the requisite level of experience to handle your case competently. In any event, all work will be supervised by a Partner, being the most senior member of the team allocated to you.

      If we have provided you with a fee range, rather than a fixed fee quote, or if we do additional work for you which is outside a fixed fee quote, please note that our hourly rates (exclusive of VAT) for each type of solicitor or other team member who may be involved in your transaction, are as follows:

      Partner £325
      Associate £275
      Solicitor £225
      Trainee £160
      Paralegal £160

      If we need to rely on our hourly rates, we will endeavour to provide you with an estimate of the time that each member of the team is likely to take in order to conclude your case.

      Once you know who will be in the team allocated to your transaction, you will be able to find out more information about the team by visiting the Employment, Pensions and Immigration section on our website.

      If you have any queries, please contact Ben Daniel in the first instance, at ben.daniel@weightmans.com.

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