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Our lawyers have extensive experience in advising both employees and employers and understand the issues and pressures from both sides. This enables them to offer really valuable advice on how best to approach the situation.

Our lawyers have extensive experience acting for employees and employers in relation to unfair and wrongful dismissal claims. We understand the issues and pressures from both sides. This enables us to offer valuable and insightful advice on how best to approach the situation.

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal:

Type of case Fee estimate
Simple complexity case £12,000 – £20,000 plus 20% VAT
Medium complexity case £20,000 – £50,000 plus 20% VAT
High complexity case £50,000+ plus 20% VAT


Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • If it is necessary to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • If there are any complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled or if the claim is within the limitation period
  • The length of the final hearing
  • The number of witnesses and the extent of the documents
  • If the dismissal is automatically unfair
  • Additional claims pursued such as discrimination/whistleblowing claims
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • If a costs application is being made or defended

An Employment Tribunal hearing can last between one and ten days or more depending on the complexity of the case.

You have the option to ask us to instruct counsel to conduct the advocacy in an Employment Tribunal case. However, all the qualified solicitors in the Hugh James Employment Law and HR Services Team are able to conduct advocacy themselves.

If we instruct counsel, counsel’s fees are estimated as being between £750 to £2,500 per day (excluding VAT) (depending on experience of the advocate). However, the fee of experienced counsel is likely to be up to £4,000+ per day (excluding VAT). There may also be an additional charge to have a junior solicitor attend the Employment Tribunal Hearing to accompany counsel of up to £1,500 per day (excluding VAT).

Please note that we offer a range of pricing options for our clients which can include fixed fees, retainers and insurance cover for tribunal claims.


Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees and counsel’s fees (see above). We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. In employment tribunal claims there are no court fees, and it is very unusual to have disbursements in straightforward cases. The exception is where an expert medical report may be required, which could cost in the region of £1,000+ plus 20% VAT. However, please note this is only an estimate.

Scope of work

The fees set out above cover the following key stages of a claim:

  • Speaking/meeting with you to take your initial instructions, reviewing documentation and providing advice you on the merits of the claim/defence and potential compensation;
  • Settlement discussions;
  • Drafting the claim or response;
  • Reviewing and advising on the claim or response from the other side;
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss;
  • Preparing for (and attending) any preliminary hearing including preparing a case management agenda;
  • Preparing lists of documents, exchanging documents and agreeing a bundle;
  • Taking and exchanging witness statements;
  • Advising on the other side’s witness statements;
  • Preparing for and attending final hearing, including instructions to Counsel where applicable;
  • Ensuring that you are made fully aware of the progress of the case and are regularly updated.

The stages set out above are an indication only. If some of stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. This can arise if the case can be settled at an early stage. There is also the possibility of some, or all elements of the claim being struck out at an early stage.

You may wish to handle some aspects of the claim yourself and only have our advice/support in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged depending on your individual needs.

How long will the Employment Tribunal process take?

The time it takes from initial instructions to final resolution will depend on at which stage your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached via ACAS pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take two to six weeks.

If the case does not settle during the pre-claim conciliation period, it may still be possible to reach a settlement at a later stage.

If, however, your claim proceeds to a final hearing, your case may take between nine and twelve months or even longer.

Please note that these timescales are just estimates and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information about your specific case.

What are our hourly rates?

Our hourly rates vary depending upon the client, complexity of the matter and the seniority of the lawyer. They may also vary depending upon whether we are instructed via a framework or following a tender.

Our standard hourly rates are as follows:

  • Partners and Legal Directors: £300 to £382 plus VAT
  • Solicitors: £220 to £330 plus VAT
  • Trainees/Paralegal support staff: £120 to £217 plus VAT

Our London standard hourly rates as follows:

  • Partners and Legal Directors: £372 to £465 plus VAT
  • Solicitors: £272 to £390 plus VAT
  • Trainees/Paralegal support staff: £170 to £295 plus VAT

Experience of the team

All our lawyers are qualified solicitors with varying post qualification experience from one year to 20 years+. We are all members of the Employment Lawyers’ Association. We regularly provide employment law updates and speak at events including CIPD seminars, webinars and conferences.

We also have trainee solicitors who work with the team. The trainee solicitors have completed the academic stages of training to be a lawyer and have a training contract with us for two years. During that time, they work in different departments to get work-based experience. They change departments every six months.

Next steps

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