A settlement agreement is an agreement between an employer and employee. In the agreement usually the employee waives their rights to bring employment claims on the basis that the employer pays a discretionary termination payment.
In most cases the employer contributes towards the employee’s legal costs. Reviewing the agreement, advising on the terms of the agreement and completing the adviser’s certificate will usually be agreed at your employer’s contribution plus VAT and there will be no additional fee. If, however, you instruct us to do any further work, the work will be charged at the partner’s hourly rate, the current rate being £400 plus VAT.
Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) transparency pricing rules
We are obliged to provide certain pricing information in relation to bringing and defending claims for wrongful and unfair dismissal claims in the Employment Tribunal.
A wrongful dismissal claim is a breach of contract claim, generally, limited to a sum equivalent to losses for the notice period. The maximum amount that the Employment Tribunal awards for such a claim is £25,000. Any wrongful dismissal claim worth more than £25,000 must be brought in the High Court and the SRA transparency pricing rules do not apply.
An unfair dismissal claim is a statutory claim about the fairness of the dismissal.
For an unfair/wrongful dismissal case listed for a full hearing for two days we estimate the cost of the service, which would be carried out by a partner, to be in the region of £16,000 to £20,000 plus VAT excluding counsel’s fee for representation and other disbursements. This is based on between 40 hours and 50 hours preparation time, charged at a partner’s hourly rate of £400 plus VAT. We do not offer no win no fee or fixed fee arrangements for unfair/wrongful dismissal cases (or other litigation).
The preparation time could include: obtaining initial instructions, reviewing documentation, assessing the claim/response and, if instructed, conducting negotiations (stage one) (four to five hours), drafting the claim/response, making amendments and lodging the claim/response (stage two) (four to five hours), ongoing communications, negotiations, if instructed, conducting strategy meetings, preparing for any preliminary hearing, reviewing documentation, drafting a list of documents and making amendments, exchanging lists and reviewing the other party’s disclosed documentation, interviewing witnesses and obtaining witness statements and exchanging witness statements (stage three) (twenty to twenty five hours), preparing for the full hearing, ongoing communications, strategy meetings, negotiation, if instructed, reviewing the other party’s witness statements, preparing bundles and instructing counsel for representation at the hearing (stage five) (four to five hours) and attending the hearing (stage six) (eight to ten hours).
For any extra additional day that the full hearing is listed for is it is estimated there will be a further eight to ten hours of preparation time spent at the partner’s hourly rate of £400 plus VAT per hour (£3,200 to £4,000 plus VAT) for each day on the basis of increased amounts of documentation to review and witness statements to obtain as well as longer time attending the hearing.
Counsel’s fees for representation vary considerably depending on which counsel we agree with you to instruct. The level of fees will depend on the experience and seniority of counsel. As an estimate counsel’s fees for a two-day hearing could be in the region of between £1,500 to £6,000 plus VAT. The fees could increase, for example, by a further £750 to £3,000 plus VAT for each additional day but this is only an estimate.
Other disbursements could include photocopying charges, courier costs, travel costs and accommodation costs (if the Employment Tribunal hearing is not within commuting distance). For a two-day hearing, assuming that the hearing is within commuting distance, travel expenses for counsel and the partner conducting the matter could be in the region of £50 to £200 plus VAT but much will depend on the location of the Employment Tribunal. Photocopying charges could be in the region of £100 plus VAT.
When your case will be resolved will depend on various factors. The case could settle at any time. The listing of the hearing will mainly depend on the Employment Tribunal’s availability and listing times do fluctuate. A two-day hearing could, as an estimate, be listed within three to six months from the claim being issued but may be later. A more complex case could be listed, again as an estimate, within six to twelve months but may be later.
VAT (the current rate being 20%) is charged on our fees and all disbursements, subject to a few limited permitted exceptions.
Please note that the above indicators are estimates only. We also do provide more detailed cost estimates and timescales when instructed and, regularly, throughout the Employment Tribunal process.