Girlings logo
Make an

Make an enquiry

Please complete the form below and a legal adviser will contact you.
Select office:
Your data will only be used to contact you regarding your enquiry.
Employment Law for Individuals

Employment Law for Individuals

Personal Law

The Employment Law team at Girlings is adept at helping employees of all levels with employment law issues.

We have many years of experience of advising a diverse range of individuals on issues including settlement agreements, flexible working requests, post-termination restrictions, whistleblowing disclosures, confidential information disputes, grievances, wrongful and unfair dismissal claims, discrimination complaints and other Employment Tribunal claims.

We have extensive experience in advising employees on settlement agreements. Our experienced and specialised team offer timely, pragmatic and cost effective advice, and advise on the terms and effect of the settlement agreement in a way which is easy to understand. We can act on your behalf in negotiating severance terms and advising on your legal rights and any alternatives that may be available to you. We also advise individuals and groups of employees who have been offered settlement agreements as part of a collective redundancy procedure.

When moving on to a new role or starting a new business, restrictive covenants and other contractual obligations such as confidentiality clauses can cause problems for employees. Taking early advice with regard to the meaning and enforceability of post termination restrictions before exiting can help to spot and avoid potential disputes. We regularly assist individuals who are accused of infringing restrictive covenants or misusing trade secrets and confidential information.

We are very experienced at helping employees facing disciplinary, performance management, ill-health or redundancy procedures. We provide advice to employees going through such procedures, and to employees who have been dismissed. We offer expert guidance on whether your employer has acted fairly in conducting a dismissal procedure, on potential claims arising from dismissal such as discrimination and wrongful and unfair dismissal, and with representation in Acas Early Conciliation and Employment Tribunal proceedings.

Our expert team can also assist employees to resolve claims arising from unlawful deductions from wages, breaches of their contract of employment and statutory rights. We can advise on disputes over working hours and flexible working, pay (including national minimum wage), holiday entitlement and holiday pay, changes to your role or duties, sick pay, bonus payments and other contractual entitlements. Our specialist solicitors can advise on your rights relating to grievance procedures and the resolution of problems such as bullying, harassment, discrimination and personality conflicts in the workplace. We can advise you on how to raise a grievance, your rights in the procedure and, in the event that your grievance is unsuccessful, how to pursue a claim for constructive dismissal where appropriate.

Working closely with our colleagues in Corporate, Banking & Finance and Commercial Law, we act for partners, LLP members, directors and shareholders on protecting and enforcing their rights.

Our experience in drafting new contracts, bonuses or incentive plans allows our specialist team to identify areas of concern to employees who have been asked to sign a new contract of employment. We can help you clarify what contractual terms mean in real world language, and we are happy to advise and assist you in reviewing and negotiating all types of employment contracts, bonus schemes, long term incentive plans and share option agreements.

We have extensive experience advising individuals who feel they have been discriminated against, and may wish to bring Equality Act claims, or subjected to detriments for “blowing the whistle” or exposing malpractice. We can assist you in raising grievances regarding these issues, advising on time limits and bringing claims in the Employment Tribunal.

Our specialist lawyers add value to our employee clients through our expensive experience, expert knowledge and pro-active service driven approach. Our focus is to find cost effective solutions at all times.

To find out more about support for employers on business issues, go to Employment Law for Businesses.

Employment tribunals - Fees & timescales

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 £15,500 plus VAT in the most straightforward case to approximately £100,000 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 £2,000 to £5,000 plus VAT. In lengthier and more complex cases counsel’s fees are likely to be higher and in some cases significantly higher.

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 a 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 or Case Management Hearing
  • Making applications to the Tribunal
  • 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 bespoke terms in writing with you.

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 £335 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.

To find out more about how we can help you with your employment law issues, contact a member of our Employment team.

We have offices in Ashford, Canterbury and Herne Bay

Our Employment Law team are ranked in the Legal 500.

Uk leading firm 2023web

Our Experts

Carl Vincent

Chairman, Head of Department
Employment Law

Paul McAleavey

Employment Law

David Morgan

Employment law

Mathew Blatchford-Horn

Trainee Solicitor

Related Pages


How Much Does a Settlement Agreement Cost?



What is a Settlement Agreement and how does it work?

A Settlement Agreement, formerly known as a Compromise Agreement, is a legally binding document in which you waive your right to bring certain claims against your employer. In return for this the employer usually offers a financial inducement, such as an enhanced redundancy payment, to the employee. They are generally used on the termination of employment but can be also used to settle any dispute that you are having with your employer.

What happens if I do not sign the Settlement Agreement?

Your solicitor can only help you to understand the Agreement but it is ultimately up to you whether or not you sign the Settlement Agreement. If you decide not to sign the Agreement it is unlikely that your employer will cover your solicitor’s costs.

Should you decide not to sign the Settlement Agreement, you may wish to take your employer to the Employment Tribunal. It is important to be aware that you usually only have three months from termination of employment or from the problem arising to bring a claim.

Why do I need a solicitor?

Settlement Agreements must meet certain requirements in order to be legally binding. One of these requirements is that an employee should be given independent legal advice on the terms of the Settlement Agreement. A solicitor is one type of independent advisor legally permitted to advise on Settlement Agreements and will be able to explain the terms and effects of the Agreement to you.

The solicitor is there to advise you and is not instructed by your employer. Even if your employer has recommended a particular solicitor, the solicitor is independent and will act in your best interests. They will be able to advise you on the implications of accepting or not accepting the Agreement and help you to understand the offer being made.


Efficient and timely advice given with practicality and sympathy. A good mix of objective advice and understanding of a difficult emotional experience.
Legal 500
I worked with Carl Vincent on a range of issues over several years and found him very personable. His knowledge of interconnected issues was excellent. He has also helped form our future employment policies and contracts.
Legal 500
Girlings operates as if it were a central London employment team while charging provincial rates. They are without doubt the best value employment practice in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, regularly appearing in cases with a phalanx of City lawyers against them whilst remaining wholly unperturbed.
Legal 500
We effectively outsource all of our legal HR function to this firm and they provide us with swift and appropriate advice on all employment matters that we face. We have found their support as we have managed our way through COVID invaluable.
Legal 500