How much does an employment lawyer cost?

The stress and upheaval that comes from being dismissed at work is enough to cause serious emotional and financial harm. If you decide that you have been unfairly treated then you may be thinking about speaking to a lawyer.

To help you understand what this may cost, as well as some finance options available to you, we have outlined some key details below. If you have any questions or wish to speak to someone about a dismissal or work place grievance, then you can always contact one of  our specialist employment lawyers.

How much does it cost to bring or defend a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal in an employment tribunal?

All of the guide costs are ex VAT.

Complexity Lower range Higher range
Simple case £7,000 £10,000
Medium complexity case £12,000 £30,000
High complexity case +£30,000 +£30,000

How long can an employment tribunal 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. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 1 month – 6 months. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6 months – 1 year. 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.

Who will be working on my employment tribunal case?

We have a team of employment lawyers working across the UK ready to assist you with your employment problems. Thanks to our network of offices we will always try to provide you with a lawyer who is based in a location that is convenient for you. Until you decide to instruct Royds Withy King it is difficult to say exactly who will be working on your employment tribunal, but it is very likely that one of the following heads of department will either working directly on, or closely supervising your case.

Malcolm Gregory, Partner

Malcolm is a Royds Withy King partner and heads up the Employment team. He is frequently recognised for his talent in providing clients with practical commercial advice in his specialist area of emplo...

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Richard Woodman, Partner

Richard is a partner and Head of our Employment team in the London office. He has been a partner at Royds and now Royds Withy King since 1987.

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James Sage, Partner

James is a partner in our Employment team and advises employers and employees on any employment law issue. His work has been recognised by the Legal 500 as “excellent”.

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Richard White, Partner

Richard is recommended as a "Leader in his field" in the Chambers Independent Guide to the Legal Profession and is described as a “standout lawyer” in the Legal 500 directory.

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Caroline Doran Millett Partner

An experienced and commercially aware lawyer, she comes recommended by the Legal 500 UK, the clients’ guide to the best UK law firms, and is described as "completely unflappable".

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Gemma Ospedale, Partner

Gemma is a partner and a specialist employment lawyer dealing with all contentious and non-contentious areas of employment law.

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Kate Benefer, Partner

Kate is a partner in the Employment team based in Oxford. She has extensive experience across a wide range of employment law matters and advises on all aspects of employment law.

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Lauren Harkin, Partner

Lauren has extensive experience across a range of employment law matters and spends her time advising both local and national businesses as well as individual employees and senior level directors.

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David Israel, Partner

David, a well-known and respected employment lawyer based in our London offices. He acts for companies and senior executives on their employment issues.

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What sort of things make an employment tribunal more complex, and are not included in the pricing?

  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
  • The number of witnesses and documents
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. the claimant is bringing a whistleblowing claim
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing ranging between £960 – £2,000 per day depending on the level of seniority of fee earner. Typically, we would expect 1 – 10 days depending on the complexity of the case.

What are disbursements and how can they affect the overall price

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

We do not generally carry out advocacy at Tribunal full merits hearings and will therefore instruct Counsel to represent you. Counsel’s fees are estimated to range between £650 to £5,000 per day +VAT (depending on experience of the advocate and the stage of proceedings) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation).

The level of these additional disbursements can vary significantly from case to case and would depend on the specific disbursements. However, an indicative range of likely costs is £100 – £1,000 plus VAT.

key stages

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 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 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 according to your individual needs.

Are there any different ways to fund an employment tribunal?

Claimants may have the benefit of Legal Expenses Insurance (often as an element of cover provided by household or vehicle Insurance or vehicle and breakdown cover).  You should check all policies to see if this cover is available and let us know.

In certain circumstances we may be able to offer a Damages Based Agreement (DBA).  If we do agree a DBA with you then typically you will only pay fees if you win your case.  However, fees can also be payable in some circumstances, normally:

  • For work done prior to the period covered by the DBA
  • if you mislead us by providing false information
  • if you end the agreement or if you ask to be reinstated before the case is won or lost or settled
  • if you change your instructions such that we assess your chances of success as less than 51%
  • where claims or counterclaims are brought against you
  • appeals

Disbursements such as counsel’s fees or expert’s fees and other expenses fall outside of the DBA.

What are the hourly rates?

The rate you will be charged will depend on the location, the seniority, as well as the urgency of your legal work. The table below indicates the different pricing points for these criteria.

Role Standard regional rate Standard London rate
Eq Partner £290 £400
Salaried Partner £270 £340
Senior Associate £250 £270
Associate £220 £240
Solicitor £210 £220
FILEX £200 £210
Consultant £290 £400
Legal Assistant £100 £120
Trainee £150 £175
Paralegal £135 £150

Who will be working on my case?

Exactly who will be working on your case will depend on your location and the complexity of your legal requirement, however you can see a full list of Partners, Senior Associates and Associates who head up our Employment department here.

Contact us if you would like to speak to a member of the team about your employment rights.

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