Meet Carl Vincent, Head of Employment Law:
Employment Law Advice for Employers
The team has extensive experience in all areas of employment law and works within our business law practice based in Ashford, Kent. It advises a diverse range of business clients including manufacturers, financial services companies, professional practices including GP practices, architects, dentists and accountants, media and advertising companies, retailers, construction and property companies, IT businesses, recruitment agencies, management consultants, travel businesses schools, colleges, charities and other not for profit organisations as well as directors and senior employees.
The team advises a diverse range of business clients, professional practices, schools and colleges, charities and other not for profit organisations as well as directors and senior employees.
Our Employment Law Services
We can offer a broad range of employment law advice including:
- Providing hands on, day to day surgery advice and support including in relation to internal grievance and disciplinary procedures
- Reviewing and drafting documentation such as employment contracts, service agreements, bonus schemes, staff handbooks, policies and procedures and Settlement Agreements
- Drafting and enforcing restrictive covenants
- Managing and handling severance negotiations, including senior executive terminations and preparing Settlement Agreements
- Advising on redundancies, including collective redundancies
- Discrimination complaints and investigations
- Flexible working and work/life balance issue
- Advising on strategic issues such as trade unions, pension changes and information and consultation in the workplace
- Employee tax issues
- Offering bespoke client training
- Assistance with data protection issues
- Business transfers and Tupe
- Conducting and advising on all aspects of employment tribunal claims (including advocacy at employment tribunal cases)
- Representation in High Court and County Court proceedings
- Advising on alternative methods of dispute resolution such as mediation.
Our Fees - Employment Tribunals
Please find below details of our fees and the timescales involved in respect of defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal.
Please note that the information below provides details of our costs in respect of bringing or defending claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. If you require costs information for any other type of claim or employment law advice please contact a member of the employment law team, who will be happy to discuss your requirements and provide an estimate of your likely fees.
Range of costs
No two Employment Tribunal claims are the same. Claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal differ hugely in terms of their nature, range and complexity and the financial sums and other issues at stake.
Other factors that could make a case more complex (and therefore more costly in terms of legal fees) include:
- Claims which involve protected disclosures (where the Claimant claims that they have been dismissed because they “blew the whistle”) or other grounds which entitle a Claimant to argue that they have been ‘automatically’ unfairly dismissed such as health and safety, working time, national minimum wage and flexible working cases
- Where expert evidence is required
- If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
- Where one or more interim applications are made during the course of the proceedings
- Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
- Making or defending a costs application or
- Where a claim has a large number of witnesses and/or documents.
Accordingly, depending on the nature of the case and the range and complexity of the issues involved, and on the assumption that the case proceeds to a contested trial, our costs for bringing or defending claims of unfair or wrongful dismissal claim are likely to range from £12,500 plus VAT in the most straightforward case to approximately £80,000 plus VAT in outlier cases which are very complex or protracted. These fees presuppose that a member of our employment team would conduct the advocacy at all hearings. If external counsel is instructed to conduct the advocacy, our fees would be lower but your disbursements (see below) would be higher.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as barristers or experts or out of pocket expenses such as travel costs or any fees charged by the Employment Tribunal. There are no Employment Tribunal fees at present but it is possible that fees may be reintroduced at some stage. We usually handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. VAT is charged on disbursements where applicable at the current rate of 20%.
The cost of instructing a barrister (or an expert) is driven largely by their experience and seniority and the amount of time and support required from them. For example, a junior barrister conducting a one day unfair dismissal hearing may charge a brief fee in the range of £1,500 to £5,000 plus VAT. In lengthier and more complex cases counsel’s fees are likely to be higher.
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
- Preparing claim form or response document;
- Reviewing and advising on the claim or response served by another 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 trial bundle
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
- Preparing a trial bundle
- Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
- Preparation for and attendance at a trial, including (where relevant) instructing counsel and
- Attendances on you and the other side and other third parties throughout the case.
Bear in mind that the vast majority of unfair and wrongful dismissal claims do not reach a trial, hence the stages set out above are illustrative. If a claim settles early or during the proceedings and before trial, the fees payable will necessarily be lower. In addition, you may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages or some aspects of the case – such as disclosure or advocacy. This can also be agreed based on your individual needs.
We do not typically act under Conditional Fee Arrangements or Damages Based Agreements but there may be situations where we will consider this. In such cases we would agree terms in writing with you and provide further information to you on the scheme if relevant.
We charge based on the time spent by our solicitors and other fee earners working on your case by reference to hourly rates. The level of hourly rates depends on each person’s seniority and experience and rates are reviewed annually. Our current hourly rates - applicable from trainee solicitor to partner - range from £150 to £305 plus VAT.
Please note that you may have other funding options available (such as cover under an insurance policy). A member of our team will be happy to discuss this with you.
Please see here for the members of our employment team who shall work on claims for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal including their experience and qualifications.
How long will my matter 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 2-8 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a trial, your case is likely to take somewhere between 9-15 months. 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.