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The importance of obtaining quality representation

When you face problems at work, or have been dismissed, you need immediate access to expert legal advice. Unfortunately, many providers of employment advice are not specialists but will still charge you thousands of pounds for their services. 

Employment tribunals (originally set up to be ‘lawyer-free zones’) have become increasingly legalistic. Perhaps for this reason, 95% of litigants-in-person lose their discrimination claims and the few that win achieve lower awards. 

The main problem most claimants face is obtaining affordable but quality advice.

 

 

Affordable fees

Equal Justice Ltd solicitors (“EJS”) has pioneered “affordable representation” for its clients.

We are aware that the legal market is very over-priced. We are a human rights firm and believe that claimants (and responsible employers) should not be costed out of justice.

We work out how much the Employment Tribunal (“ET”) claim will cost to run to the final hearing (on the worst-case scenario that it does not settle). We then see what the client can afford and try to find a costs arrangement which allows that client to progress their claim to trial (where it does not settle) without the stress of, and risk of, being costed out of justice by their own lawyers’ fees.   

In the ET, this is particularly important because the losing party does not have to pay the winner’s legal costs (except in exceptional circumstances), so normally whatever happens the claimant has to bear her/his own legal costs.

Where a client cannot afford the private fee rate costs of taking the matter to trial, where possible, we offer a variety of cost limiting schemes such as fixed or capped costs, no win, no fee agreements, free (pro bono) work and a combination of those options. Pure no win, no fee agreements require specific criteria and are normally limited to 3 months.

Most of our work involves discrimination and/or whistle-blowing detriment and/or dismissal claims.

We sometimes accept Wrongful Dismissal claims and/or Unfair Dismissal claims which do not involve discrimination or an automatically unfair reason for the dismissal.

The current cost of running an ET Discrimination and/or Whistle-Blowing claim to an ET final hearing (including advocacy) is in the region of £20,000 plus vat to £31,000 plus vat for a three-day trial, depending on the seniority of the solicitor(s) selected.  

Our capped costs for such cases range from £8,000 plus vat to £16,000 plus vat and normally include a contingency fee element of 10%-25% plus vat.

The current cost of running an ET Unfair Dismissal and/or Wrongful Dismissal claim to an ET final hearing (including advocacy) is in the region of £9,500 plus vat to £14,650 plus vat for an one day trial, depending on the seniority of the solicitor(s) selected.  

Our capped costs for such cases range from £3,500 plus vat to £7,000 plus vat and normally include a contingency fee element of 10%-25% plus vat.

Our current private fee rates are as follows (for 2019):  

 

 

Work done – charge rates (all figures exclude VAT) Lawrence Davies,

Senior Solicitor
(qualified in 1994)

Hazal Mustafa,

Solicitor

(qualified in 2016)

Ashley Matthews

Solicitor

(qualified in 2018)

£

£

£

Hourly rate

300.00

225.00

200.00

Hourly rate for drafting, preparing for tribunal/court hearing, client meetings, and all communications over 12 minutes in length
Letter out/E-mail out

30.00

22.50

20.00

Letter in/E-mail in and Tel call (less than 12 mins)

15.00

11.25

10.00

Advocacy (per hour) and EAT work, Emergency work Judicial Mediation

    350.00

250.00

200.00

Waiting at tribunal/travel to tribunal (per hour)

50.00

50.00

50.00

 

 

Discrimination ET cases at the ET (such claims may also involve Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal claims)

While the amount of work hours undertaken in a discrimination case vary, according to complexity, length etc, the table below provides an estimate of total charges and expenses for the work to the conclusion of any ET final hearing (based on Mr. Davies’ capped hourly rates):

 

Work Done Cost estimate Running total
£ £
Taking your instructions 1,000 1,000
Perusing documents and other preparatory work 2,000 3,000
Drafting your ET claim (ET1) 1,000 4,000
Issuing proceedings 100 4,100
Reviewing the Defence (ET3) 1,000 5,100
Preparing a List of Issues 750 5,850
Attending the Case Management Discussion at the Employment Tribunal 900 6,750
Preparing the List of Documents (per 100 documents) 750 7,500
Reviewing the Respondent’s documents (per 400 pages) and, where necessary, preparing an application for specific disclosure 750 8,250
Drafting your witness statement (per 25 pages) 2,500 10,750
Drafting the statements of supporting witnesses (per witness) 750 11,500
Reviewing the Respondent’s statements (per 100 pages) 1,000 12,500
Preparing the Trial Bundle 1,000 13,500
Settlement negotiations 1,000 14,500
Preparing cross-examination and for the hearing (20 hours) (assuming a three day hearing – each extra day will be charged at £1,500 plus VAT per day) and Advocacy at final hearing 9,000 23,500
Client attendances and general casework during case (20 hours) 6,000 29,500
Drafting the closing submissions 1,500 31,000

 

The above estimate of £31,000 does not include VAT nor the costs of any Open (public) Preliminary Hearings (£3,000 plus VAT). It also assumes that the claim will be heard and concluded at a single three day final hearing. Part-heard hearing will increase the cost.

Longer hearings and the preparation for them will cost overall approximately: – 5 day – £30,000; 10 day – £50,000; 15 day – £65,000 (all figures exclude VAT).

Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal claims at the ET (which do not involve discrimination etc)  

 

 

Work Done Cost estimate Running total
£ £
Taking your instructions 500 500
Perusing documents and other preparatory work 1,000 1,500
Drafting your ET claim (ET1) 500 2,000
Issuing proceedings 100 2,100
Reviewing the Defence (ET3) 500 2,600
Preparing a List of Issues and agenda 600 3,200
Attending the Case Management Discussion at the Employment Tribunal 600 3,800
Preparing the List of Documents (per 100 documents) 500 4,300
Reviewing the Respondent’s documents (per 400 pages) and, where necessary, preparing an application for specific disclosure 500 4,800
Drafting your witness statement (per 10 pages) 1,200 6,000
Drafting the statements of supporting witnesses (per witness) 450 6,450
Reviewing the Respondent’s statements (per 100 pages) 500 6,950
Preparing the Trial Bundle 500 7,450
Settlement negotiations 600 8,050
Preparing cross-examination and for the hearing (5 hours) and Advocacy at the one day final hearing 3,000 11,050
Client attendances and general casework during case (10 hours) 3,000 14,050
Drafting the closing submissions 600 14,650

 

The above estimate of £14,650 does not include VAT nor the costs of any Open (public) Preliminary Hearings (£1,500 plus VAT). It also assumes that the claim will be heard and concluded at a single three day final hearing. Part-heard hearing will increase the cost.