Our Approach to Fees
We are committed to providing the best possible costs information to you at every stage of your instruction to us. We will also consider and discuss with you what the best costs arrangement is, and what different costs bases we might be able to offer to you. Together, we will ensure that you are able to take informed, strategic decisions about all aspects of the matter, which will include the best information we can provide about costs and potential future costs.
At the outset, we will tell you who will work on your matter and what their qualifications are. Details of all our staff can be found on our website.
Whenever we provide a costs estimate to you, it will be our indication of the likely fee for carrying out a specified piece of work. It will be based on the information available to us at that time and will be given in good faith. It will be subject to revision and does not amount to a binding or contractual commitment to carry out the piece of work for that cost. We will tell you as soon as we can if it becomes apparent that an estimate which we have given is likely to be exceeded, and will agree with you the best way forward.
In some circumstances, we might be able to give a quotation or agree a fixed fee. That must be agreed in writing, and we will set out what work is included and any restrictions on the quote. If however there is any change to the information provided to us when our quote is given, we reserve the right to revise it appropriately. In particular, we reserve the right to charge additional fees for material additional work arising from circumstances known to you when our quotation was agreed, but which were not disclosed to us, or which are materially different to those envisaged when we gave our quotation.
All fee estimates and quotes which we give are subject to Value Added Tax at the prevailing rate where applicable.
Our engagement letter will give you details of the charging rate of the people who will be handling your work. Unless we have agreed a quotation or fixed fee with you, our charges will be calculated by reference to the time which our professional staff spend dealing with the matter. In certain circumstances, such as where a matter is particularly complicated, has to be carried out very quickly, or has to be carried out in an inconvenient location, we reserve the right to invoice at an enhanced rate. That will only happen with your prior agreement. Our hourly rates are revised and can be increased from time to time.
We are committed to transparency in connection with fees. We are happy to provide you with details of how any time recorded on a matter has been spent, and a breakdown of how any fees have been calculated.
Employment Tribunal Claim (Claimant)
Your liability to pay fees to us will depend on how your claim is funded. There are the following principal options.
We will enquire whether you have the benefit of insurance that may cover your legal fees for bringing/defending Employment Tribunal proceedings. In some circumstances you may have insurance cover that will also cover damages you may have to pay out to the other side (Respondents only). If you have insurance cover we will work with the insurance company providing them with the information they require to establish whether you can rely upon their insurance product. If cover is confirmed and we can reach an agreement with the insurance company for the level of indemnity, we will carry out the work on your behalf in accordance with the insurance company’s conditions. If the indemnity remains in place for the duration of the proceedings our fees will be paid by the insurance company. You may have a liability to the insurance company depending upon the terms of your specific cover. Where an insurance product does not indemnify our fees our pricing will be based on the individual fee earner’s hourly rate.
Our standard hourly rate as at December 2018 for Louise Carr is £275 per hour and for Craig McCracken it is £240 per hour (each exclusive of VAT). By way of general guidance only, the fees to bring and/or defend claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal are set out below.
Simple case: £5,000 to £12,500 plus VAT
Medium complexity case: £10,000 to £25,000 plus VAT
High complexity case: £25,000+ plus VAT
Factors that could make a case more complex:
• 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 whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties), or whether some or all of a claim has been issued on time;
• A high number of witnesses or large amounts of documentation;
• If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if the employee is dismissed after “blowing the whistle” on their employer;
• Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
In addition to the fees above, you may also be required to pay disbursements (see below).
Conditional or Contingency Fee arrangements (“CFA”)
This type of agreement is often described as a “no win no fee” agreement. Rather than pay us on the usual hourly basis, our fees are paid by us taking a percentage of the damages (including any costs awarded) upon a successful outcome. Our usual fee is 35% inclusive of VAT.
Under a CFA you will usually still be required to pay for disbursements in addition to the 35%.
If you want us to consider a CFA funding arrangement, we will need to carry out an initial assessment of your claim to establish its complexities and your prospects of success. We will offer you the option of a CFA if we are of the opinion that you have a greater than 51% chance of success and that a CFA is appropriate for you and us. We endeavour to carry out our initial assessment of your claim within 2 weeks of receiving all relevant documentation.
Disbursements are fees payable to third parties and will be required in advance of the disbursement being incurred. Typical disbursements that might be incurred in Employment Tribunal proceedings are as follows:
• Access to medical records;
• Travel to and from Tribunal;
• Accommodation whilst representing you at a Tribunal hearing;
• Barristers’ fees unless we undertake the hearing ourselves (this will be assessed on a case by case basis taking into consideration the length of hearing and the financial viability of representing you ourselves at a Tribunal hearing). Barristers’ fees range from £500 to £2,000 or more per day, depending on the level of experience. VAT is in addition;
• Instructing a pensions actuary for complex pension losses claims.
Key stages in Employment Tribunal proceedings
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 witness list;
• Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel;
The stages set out above are an indication only, and if some of 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 in accordance with your individual needs.
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 as well as how busy the specific Employment Tribunal is. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 4 to 8 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6 to 12 months. These are just estimates, and based upon a one day final hearing. We will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE INFORMATION SET OUT ABOVE IS AS AT 31st DECEMBER 2018 AND IS FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. PLEASE CONTACT US WITH DETAILS OF YOUR PROPOSED CLAIM FOR AN ESTIMATE.
Your claim will be handled by either Louise Carr or Craig McCracken of our employment team. Louise has over 15 years’ experience in employment law. Craig qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and has specialised in employment law ever since.