How much does an employment lawyer cost?

Our team are here to answer your questions as to what our costs might be, should you need employment advice.

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 financing 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.

Learn more about our fees

Your questions on our costs and the process answered below

Where VAT is stated to be payable this is currently at a rate of 20%.

How much does it cost to bring or defend a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal in an employment tribunal?
Complexity Lower range Higher range
Simple case £10,000 + VAT £15,000 + VAT
Medium complexity case £15,000 + VAT £35,000 + VAT
High complexity case £35,000 + VAT £75,000 + VAT
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 between 1 and 6 months. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take between 6 months and 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 us, it is difficult to say exactly who will be working on your employment tribunal, but it is very likely that one of the our employment law partners or Senior Associates will either working directly on, or closely supervising your case.

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 and £2,000 + VAT 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 do 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 £1,000 and £5,000 per day + VAT (depending on experience of the advocate and the stage of proceedings) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation).

Aside from Counsel’s fees, additional disbursements may be incurred for things such as expert reports, travel or photocopying. The level of these additional disbursements can vary significantly from case to case and would depend on the specific disbursements. In most cases there will not be any additional disbursements. However, in cases where they are required, an indicative range of likely costs is £500 – £2,000 + 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.

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 Hourly rate (excl VAT)
Partner £425 to £545
Senior Associate £350 to £425
Associate £320 to £350
Solicitor £280 to £320
Paralegal £195 to £215
Trainee £165 to £185
Legal Assistant £75 to £100
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