Employment Tribunal Claims

Pricing and Service 

This information on costs and timing is provided for guidance only. It is not a quotation. We shall be pleased to provide information relating to a particular matter on request. Every client will receive a letter of engagement and terms of business setting out our terms and costs based on your needs and the specific facts of the case.

We are obliged to provide you with our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal as set out below.  An employee dismissed by their employer may have a claim for unfair dismissal.  They may have a claim for wrongful dismissal if their employer fails to provide the relevant period of notice or a payment in lieu of the relevant notice period.  A wrongful dismissal claim can be filed in the county court instead of at employment tribunal. We can discuss the pros / cons of the two venues with you and have set out our fees for recovery of debts in the county court.    

We can assist you with making and defending any tribunal claims and will provide you with either a costs estimate or a fixed fee option for the particular work that you instruct us to do.  We will occasionally act for a Claimant in a damage based agreement (see glossary).   

You should immediately and urgently check any current insurance policy that you hold as it may provide you with legal expenses cover (individuals typically will have such cover in home contents insurance cover).  Please note that if you do have cover in place and take action without having informed your insurance company, any legal expenses cover may be void.

Mel McCrum

Mel McCrum

Partner, Head of Department


A great service provided and value for my money staff were pleasant and polite at all time. I would use this service again if I needed to do so.

Recent employment client

Basis of our charges

Our charges for any work we do will be based on hourly rates.  Our hourly rates for advising on tribunal matters are as follows: 

Our team are experienced in delivering high quality work in all matters relating to employment law and is ranked in both Chambers’ Legal Directory and the Legal 500.  We are mindful of the need to ensure that our advice is cost effective.  Therefore the work you instruct us to do will be undertaken by one of our specialist employment solicitors, based on the level of expertise and complexity of the work, supported by a paralegal where appropriate e.g. in the preparation of document bundles or more routine communications.

Regardless of who works on your matter, they will be supervised by Mel McCrum, Partner Solicitor and Head of Department.

Name Position Date of Qualification as a Solicitor Hourly Rate (Exclusive of VAT)
Mel McCrum Partner, Head of Department 15/10/1992 £250-£300
Francesca Wild Senior Associate Solicitor 15/09/2010 £250-£300
Emma McLoughlin Senior Associate Solicitor 02/09/2013 £250-£300
Stacey Edgley Associate Solicitor 15/01/2013 £250-300
Elizabeth Maxwell  Solicitor 15/09/2016 £200- £225
Trainee £130
Amber Fraser Paralegal £50

At the beginning of the process, we will meet with you to discuss the tribunal claim or defence (depending on whether you are the Claimant bringing the claim or the Respondent against whom the claim is made) and the extent to which you require our assistance. After that meeting we will provide you with our fees for what we anticipate the work will cost for your particular case. Each case is different and it is very difficult to tell at the outset what your total costs will be.

If the work transpires to be more complex during the process, we will notify you if the fee estimate is to be increased and seek your approval before carrying out further work. We will keep you regularly updated on costs throughout the process. You will not usually be able to recover these fees from the other party even if you win.

We have set out below the key stages of tribunal proceedings and, based on our experience, the likely range of costs you could expect to pay for those stages.  You may not need our advice at every stage perhaps because you decide to do this yourself or because it is unnecessary; not every claim has a preliminary as well as a final hearing and it is often the case that the claim will settle prior to the final hearing.  We have set out below some of the other factors that will affect these costs and could result in your fees being at the top end or even higher than the ranges we have set out.   

  • If it is necessary to make or defend an application to the tribunal to amend your ET1 or ET3 (see glossary)or to provide further information about an existing claim or defence. 
  • Any additional work caused by ACAS (see glossary) or Employment Tribunal delays.
  • Where the conduct of the other party (or their representative) is disruptive to the proceedings e.g. they delay in or fail to comply with deadlines.
  • Defending claims that are brought by a litigant in person (see glossary) because this can often lead to an increased level of correspondence and it is likely that the represented party will carry out more of the joint tribunal preparation (i.e. bundles). It may be necessary to spend time explaining legal principles and points of tribunal procedure to the other party which is generally not necessary where both parties are represented.
  • If there are delays in obtaining your instructions (see glossary). 
  • Where you require written rather than oral advice.
  • Making or defending a costs application (see glossary).
  • Where there is a preliminary hearing (see glossary).
  • The number of relevant witnesses and documents.
  • Documents being provided to us in an ad hoc and piecemeal manner.
  • The Schedule of Loss (see glossary) requires valuation of more complex and high value remuneration packages including for example: share schemes, certain pension schemes, bonus schemes or commission.
  • Hearings being delayed or postponed.
  • If there are additional claims such as unlawful discrimination or unpaid wages, particularly if they rely on different facts to claims of unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal.
  • The length of the trial and whether there are separate hearings for liability (i.e. whether or not the tribunal claim is successful) and (if it is) the quantum i.e. the value of any tribunal awards.

Your legal fees for the likely work to be expected in typical cases of both unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal for Claimants and Respondents can be broken down as set out below for the key stages of each claim. Any work outside the basic scope of each stage will be charged at our hourly rates although we will give an estimate of these fees when we can.  It is likely that fees for a wrongful dismissal only claim, will be lower than those for an unfair dismissal claim as it is usually much more straightforward. It may therefore not be cost effective for you to instruct us in a wrongful dismissal claim on a full retainer basis (where we conduct the case for you and appear on the tribunal record as your solicitors).  

For either or both claims, as they are often filed together, you may instruct us for every stage or you may only require our advice for some parts of the proceedings on a ‘pay as you go basis.’ This is called an unbundled legal service and we will tell you if we think it is appropriate to offer it to you and agree the costs with you.

Description of Stage  Estimated range of costs (exclusive of VAT)
Compliance with money laundering regulations  £100 - 300
Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and providing preliminary advice on tribunal proceedings, how likely you are to succeed at tribunal and likely compensation / settlement value.   £800 - £2,000
Preparing letter before action, negotiating settlement and finalising the terms of any COT3 agreement (see glossary) before tribunal proceedings are instigated.    £1,200 - £3,500 
Taking detailed instructions, perusing documents and preparing your ET1 (see glossary) if you are the Claimant or ET3 (see glossary) if you are the Respondent. This is likely to be a short document in a wrongful dismissal claim for notice pay.  £800 - £4,000
Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party £400 - £1,500 
Negotiating settlement and the terms of any COT3 agreement (see glossary), after tribunal proceedings are instigated.  Settlement may be readily agreed or discussions take place intermittently throughout the proceedings which will mean your fees are higher. £1,000 - £5,000
Preparing a schedule of loss (see glossary) setting out the value of the Claimant’s claims. It is normally not necessary to require third party expert advice but if this is required we will let you have the fees of any expert involved in this process and agree them with you e.g. for calculating complex pension losses. £600 - £3,500
Preparation for and representation at any [preliminary hearing]. You will be represented either by a solicitor from the employment team or where for example, the matter is more complex or it is cost effective to do so, Counsel (i.e. a barrister). Counsel’s likely fees are therefore also taken into account here. Please note these fees do not include travel expenses to/from any hearing at tribunal offices, by Counsel or your solicitor, for which you will be charged separately, neither do they include your solicitor’s travelling time for which you may also be charged. £1,000 - £4,500 
Liaison with you on compiling a list of relevant documents which could consist of say 5 to 80 documents.  This is an ongoing obligation and as your respective cases become clearer it is likely that further documents will be added. We would begin to prepare the list on being initially instructed by you. £600 - £3,000
Exchanging lists of documents with the other side, either pursuant to an order by an Employment Judge or by agreeing a combined list for the tribunal hearing (normally this is achieved). £600 - £1,500 
Assisting you in preparing witness statements. You may be the Claimant with one short witness statement or there may be several witnesses with statements of varying lengths referring to many documents.   £600- £5,000
Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements. £400 - £2, 500 

Preparing a list of issues, chronology and/or ‘cast’ list of relevant persons, in readiness for the final hearing and spending a reasonable amount of time e.g. 2 rounds of correspondence,  endeavouring to agree these with the other side. This preparatory work may not be necessary for simple claims, particularly for wrongful dismissal.

It may be this work is required for any preliminary hearing and only require tweaking prior to the final hearing.  It will be undertaken by your solicitor in the employment team or, where for example, the matter is more complex or it is cost effective to do so, by Counsel. Counsel’s likely fees are therefore taken into account here.

£650 - £2,000

Preparation for and representation at a final hearing of between 0.5 and 3 days. You will be represented either by a solicitor from the employment team or where for example, the matter is more complex or it is cost effective to do so, Counsel. Counsel’s likely fees are therefore also taken into account here. Please note these fees do not include travel expenses to/from any hearing at tribunal offices, by Counsel or your solicitor, for which you will be charged separately, neither do they include your solicitor’s travelling time for which you may also be charged.

The hearing may be listed for a couple of hours, particularly if it is a wrongful dismissal claim for notice pay only.  It is not unusual for an unfair dismissal claim to extend over 3 – 4 days.   

£1,200 - £7,500 
Estimated Cost (excluding VAT) VAT on estimated cost Total Cost
£9,950 - £45,800 £1,990 - £9,160 £11,940 - £54,960

If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation (see glossary) this will be within 4 – 6 weeks of the Claimant first contacting Acas.  If no settlement is agreed, tribunal proceedings can then instigated by the Claimant.  It is likely to take around 2 – 6 months for any preliminary hearing to take place and a further 3 – 12 months to the final hearing.  

We will give you a more accurate timescale for your own particular case once we have more information and as the matter progresses.  Much depends on the employment tribunals (which can take several weeks or even months to process paperwork) and the co-operation of the other party, over which we have no control.  Cases that have several witnesses and so require a hearing of several days will wait longer for hearing dates.  Most claims settle before the employment tribunal final hearing.


“Disbursements” are costs we incur or pay to a third party on your behalf. We will obtain your agreement to such disbursements before the costs are incurred and will handle the payment of disbursements on your behalf.

This is a list of the potential disbursements you can expect:

Barristers are called “counsel”.  They are specialist advocates who conduct trials.  If a barrister is required, her fee will depend on how experienced she is and how long the hearing is due to last. 

Counsel’s fees are estimated to be between £1,000 to £6,000 plus VAT per day (depending on the experience of the advocate) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (excluding preparation).  Generally for a straightforward case you would expect to pay up to £2,500 per day.  Preparation will generally be charged on a time spent basis and the time taken will depend on the complexity of the matter.  Counsel’s hourly rates are estimated to be between £150 and £750 plus VAT depending on the experience of the advocate.

We will charge you for photocopying, at 5p per sheet for a black and white A4 page, 25p A4 colour, 10p A3 BW, 50p colour (most commonly for the preparation of bundles for the hearing which is usually the Respondent’s responsibility).

If we need to obtain documents from Companies House we will pass on to you the cost of this service, which varies depending on which documents are applied for.

If it is necessary to send documents urgently to counsel, an expert or a witness we will charge you for the cost of the courier.  The cost depends on the urgency, the weight of the package and the distance.

There are currently no tribunal fees although this is currently under review by the government.

We may occasionally need to instruct an expert to prepare a report (they would not usually be expected to give evidence at tribunal) in support of your claim or defence.  The expert’s fee will depend on the amount of work she is required to do and usually this will be a fixed fee.  In unfair or wrongful dismissal claims we may instruct a forensic accountant to value a complex pension scheme.


To assist you we set out below some definitions for some of the common terms used in unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims.

Word Definition
Acas Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) is a government-funded body whose job it is to help conciliate settlement between the parties and you can find out more about this service on the Acas website
ACAS Pre-Claim Conciliation

Prior to filing a tribunal claim, in most cases, the Claimant must notify Acas via their online pre–claim conciliation web page. 

If settlement is not agreed, a Claimant can only issue a claim in the Employment Tribunal once they have been issued with an ACAS certificate confirming that the pre-conciliation process has concluded.

It is quite common for settlement discussions to take place after the Claimant has made their claim. It is then just called conciliation, not pre-claim conciliation.

Costs Application An application made by the Claimant or Respondent to the employment tribunal for the other party to pay their legal fees.  It is possible to claim for other costs too.
COT3 The agreement in which Acas record the settlement terms between the parties. Often the COT3 will set out that the Claimant will withdraw their claims in return for a lump sum payment. Sometimes the parties prefer to record the agreement in a more detailed document called a settlement agreement on which the Claimant is required to take legal advice.  Click here for our general advice note on settlement agreements for employers or employees.
Damage Based Agreement (DBA)

In appropriate cases, we may offer to fund your claim using a DBA.  In a DBA, if you win your claim, you will pay our fees and any disbursements we incur on your behalf from the money you recover from your opponent. The amount that you pay us is limited to 50% of the sum you recover.

Even if you do not win, you may have to pay our fees if the funding agreement is terminated.  We will explain this to you if we offer to fund your claim.

We will assess your claim before deciding whether or not we can fund it and will charge you for this assessment either on our usual hourly rates or for a fixed fee.  How much the assessment will cost depends on the complexity of the case. Assessing a straightforward claim might cost in the region of £600 -£1,500 plus VAT in addition to the initial review of the documentation.

We will only offer to fund your claim for you if a funding arrangement will be in your interests and will meet your needs.  This is a complicated area and we will discuss it with you on a case by case basis.

Under a DBA either you pay for the disbursements or we may fund them for you. If we fund them for you it may increase the overall cost of your claim.

This information is not detailed nor is it specific to your case.  If we offer to fund your claim, we will provide a comprehensive explanation tailored to the specific circumstances of your claim.

ET1  The claim form completed by the Claimant in which you set out your case.
ET3 The defence form completed by the Respondent in which you respond to the Claimant’s case.
Instructions The work that you ask us to do.
Litigant in Person A party to litigation (Claimant or Respondent) who is acting without a legal representative.
Preliminary Hearing A hearing before an Employment Judge to determine preliminary issues before the case can proceed to a final hearing. This could for example be whether a claim has been brought within the relevant time limits.  This hearing may take place at the tribunal office or (as they can be quite short) in a telephone conference call to which the parties and the Judge dial in.
Schedule of Loss A document setting out the financial value of the Claimant’s claims. The Claimant will usually be required to prepare this document prior to the Employment Tribunal Hearing and send a copy to the Respondent.  As there are sometimes delays in the Respondent receiving the Claimant’s schedule and usually disagreement about its calculation when it is received and to assist in deciding on settlement value, the Respondent will usually prepare its own Schedule of the Claimant’s losses.