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Hallett
Employment Law Services Ltd

Our Pricing

It is important to realise that no two employment law claims are the same. Each claim is distinctive, involving different businesses, different managers, and different claimants. Therefore, the cases are as individual as the issues that led to the dispute. For this reason, it is not always possible to give a definitive set cost for each case at the very outset. However, we can set out some guidance for any business or individual of the likely range of costs that they could end up incurring in dealing with an employment law dispute.

Initial discussion

We will usually have an initial discussion (of up to 20 minutes) for FREE. This will help us and you to establish some of the very basic facts, and ascertain if it is worth your while in taking formal advice from us on your case.

Initial consultation

We offer a separate initial consultation, to cover a meeting of up to 2 hours with you, going through such papers as possible in that meeting, and then writing to you to confirm the advice given in that meeting. It is our view that taking much less than two hours over the initial consultation is very unlikely to give the client adequate time to explain the history of the matter and still leave enough time for any detailed legal advice to be given. Our charges for this will be between £200 and £300 plus VAT (the precise amount will depend on whether and how much you need us to read in preparation for the meeting. This will always be discussed with you in advance of the meeting).

Charging rate

Our hourly charging rate is currently £180 plus VAT (as from 3 October 2019) nb the previous rate of £160 per hour plus VAT will still apply to any work done before the 3rd October 2019. This rate is reviewed periodically, and may increase over time. You will be informed of any such proposed change. We believe that our hourly charging rate is very competitive- considering that your case will be handled by Mr Jon Hallett, a solicitor that qualified in 1995, who specialises in this area of law and holds a Master’s degree specifically in employment law. The hourly rate will apply to all work after the initial consultation, unless specific quotes are agreed instead.

Is it a simple or complex case?

Clearly the total charges that are likely to be incurred will depend on whether the case is a simple one or more complex. We normally hope to be able to ascertain if the case is simple or complex in the initial consultation (see above). However, this is not always possible, and we shall discuss this with you in the initial consultation, and thereafter if the circumstances change or appear to indicate that it is necessary.

What might make a case complex?

Inevitably if the case involves a long history, dealing with a large number of incidents that may make it a complex case. Equally, if the case requires evidence from numerous witnesses or complicated documents that may make the case complex. We will of course have to establish if there are other claims being brought within any unfair/wrongful dismissal claim, such as unlawful discrimination, whistleblowing, or TUPE transfer related issues, as this will increase the complexity of the case and increase the costs estimate.

Other factors that may make a case more complex include:-

-Complex preliminary matters, such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this cannot be easily agreed by the parties), or identifying the correct parties to the case

-Whether it is necessary to make or defend any applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim or allegation

-Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person and/or an employer that does not have legal representation

-The need for and length of any preliminary hearings

-The length of the final hearing

-If it is an “automatic” unfair dismissal -such as one occurring after whistleblowing about an employer

-Whether a separate hearing is required to ascertain the amount of compensation to be awarded (known as a remedy hearing), and any complicated financial information required to deal with the calculation of compensation (eg in calculating pension losses)

-Allegations of unlawful discrimination in the case.

-Making or defending a claim for costs.

Key stages of the work

The stages listed below are an indication of the stages that you can expect to be included in dealing with any contested unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal claim, and any other type of claim brought in an Employment Tribunal. The Employment Tribunals and courts always expect the parties to a case to co-operate with each other, and within set or agreed timescales. It should be noted that a failure to co-operate, or co-operate in the required timescales will usually add further costs in dealing with the case. 

-Taking initial instructions, reviewing the papers and any employment handbook, contract of employment, and then advising you on the merits and likely compensation. It should be noted that this is likely to be revisited throughout the conduct of the case, and may well change as the case and circumstances develop- for example if the claimant gets a new job while the case is ongoing.

-Preparing/ reviewing a letter before action 

-Obtaining/reviewing any GP medical notes of other medical records and reports

-Entering into and dealing with pre-claim conciliation with ACAS- this is a mandatory step  that all employees have to take to explore whether or not a settlement can be reached prior to being allowed to issue their claim(s) in an Employment Tribunal

-Preparing the claim or the defence (known as the Response) to the claim

-Reviewing and advising on the claim or response from the other party

-Correspondence and dialogue including negotiating settlement throughout the process

-Preparing or considering a schedule of losses (document setting out the details of the calculation of the potential losses being claimed in the case)

-Collating and exchanging documents with the other party, and then agreeing an index and bundle of documents- either is relation to any preliminary hearing or the final hearing

-Preparing the bundle (and sufficient copies) for use at the preliminary, final or remedy hearing

-Taking information for the witness statements, drafting, checking and, if necessary, amending the witness statements

-Exchanging witness statements with the other party and then reviewing and advising on those statements 

-Preparing for (and subsequently attending) any preliminary hearing

-Agreeing a list of issues, chronology and/or witness list

-Preparing a skeleton argument

-Reviewing any skeleton argument received from the other party

-Preparing and sending any instructions to a barrister as and when required.

-Attending any conference or meeting with barristers as may be required

-Preparation for and attending final hearing, and any remedy hearing

-Negotiating and drafting any settlement agreement to conclude the case, which may include internal announcements and or employment reference

-Receiving any settlement money or payment

How long will the case take?

This varies from case to case. In basic terms, the length of time taken from receiving your initial instructions to the point of conclusion depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. The majority of cases are settled before having to attend a full Tribunal hearing, many are settled before any hearing at all in the Employment Tribunal.

We cannot give any guarantee as to exactly how long your case will take, or how long it will take the Employment Tribunal to allocate a hearing date. The time taken can be affected by a variety of factors, including the level of the workload and availability of hearing time in the Employment Tribunal, and the likely length of a final hearing (generally the longer the hearing is likely to take, the longer the time will be before the case is resolved).

The Employment Tribunals are busier now than they were a few years ago. The result is that it often takes anything from between 4 and 18 months for a case to be heard from the date the claim is first submitted to the Tribunal office (largely depending on the complexity of the case and the likely duration of a final hearing). This is just an estimate, and we will of course be able to give you more accurate timescales once we have more information and as the matter progresses. 

If a settlement is reached during the pre-claim conciliation process with ACAS your case is likely to be resolved within three months. 

Estimates on probable costs

Even simple cases, which will still involve the preparation of bundles of documents and witness statements our costs are likely to come to roughly £4,000 to £5,250 plus VAT. This is on the basis of the case taking just one day to complete the required hearing in the Employment Tribunal.

If a barrister is required to attend the hearing for a one day hearing the additional barrister’s fees estimated at between £1,500 and £2,500 will also be incurred. You should be aware that the barrister will charge a “brief fee” for reviewing the papers and preparing the cases, even if the hearing is not necessary because the case is settled (see the section below on Disbursements and barristers fees

More complex cases, are likely to be more costly. This can be due simply because of the greater volume of documents to deal with and number of witness statements, and duration of the hearing, or complex areas of law becoming involved in the case. In such a complex case, assuming a hearing that takes 2 to 5 days, our costs are likely to come to roughly £8,000 to £15,000 plus VAT.

If a barrister is required to attend the hearing for you, we estimate a further £3,000 to £7,000 plus VAT will be incurred for a hearing lasting between 2 and 5 days (but see the point made earlier about the “brief fee”- which is the fee for the initial instructions to the barrister).

Disbursements

Disbursements are additional costs on top of our fees. These are costs related to your case which are payable to a third party, or any unusual travel or subsistence costs we have to incur in order to deal with your matter. Other examples of disbursements include the following:-

-Company search fees

-Mediators fees (if a matter is tried to be settled via mediation other than the standard pre-claim conciliation through ACAS)

-Medical and or occupational health reports

-Barristers fees (the fees charged by the barrister to read the papers and give advice, either on paper in meeting with you – known as a conference- and the fee for attending the Employment Tribunal to represent you

-Accountant or actuary fees (for example if complicated evidence is required to deal with the assessment of compensation).

-Disbursements will be payable in addition to our own fees

-Funding and liability for payment of our costs and disbursements

-The starting point is that you will be personally responsible and liable for payment of our fees and disbursements (be that you or the company that you represent).

Sometimes some or all legal costs may be covered under the terms of insurance policies that you may already hold. You will need to make your own enquiries to ascertain if you hold any such insurance that covers these costs, and the terms and conditions of the relevant insurance. Please note that many insurers limit the level of contribution towards legal costs under their policies. Unless agreed with us otherwise you will remain liable for all costs incurred above and beyond the level of contribution under any relevant insurance scheme or such level as the insurers may grant on any occasion for you (be that a shortfall compared to our prevailing hourly rate or the excess over a maximum figure set by the insurer). We reserve the absolute right to decline to act for you if we do not accept the terms of your insurer and if you are then unable to agree to be liable for our fees yourself.

If you are a member of a Trade Union, the Union may contribute towards your legal costs. If this is a possibility you must make your own enquiry with the Union (as most use their own preferred solicitors or impose financial limits on the contributions that they will make). Again, we reserve the absolute right to decline to act for you if we do not accept the terms or restrictions that your Union seek on the payment of our fees if you are then unable to agree to be liable for our fees yourself.

The chances of recovering our legal fees from your opponent in a case in the Employment Tribunal, even if you win the case, are very small. You should never assume that you can expect to recover from your opponent all or any of the legal fees you incur. The Employment Tribunal does have the power to order a party to pay the legal fees of the other party, but the powers are limited to particular circumstances, and even if such an order is made.

Settlement agreements

This note does not cover the subject of the costs of dealing with a settlement agreement that has already been provided to you by your employer for you to get advice on. Please contact us to discuss the situation if you have received a settlement agreement. We are qualified, and experienced in negotiating the terms of and giving advice on the terms and effect of settlement agreements. Usually an employer will pay some or all of the legal costs that you will incur in getting advice on the terms of a settlement agreement. Typically, employers will contribute between £250 and £500 (plus VAT) towards the legal costs that you will incur in getting advice on the terms and effects of such an agreement. The actual costs that we will charge will depend on a number of factors, including the length of the document, the amount of negotiation required over the terms of the agreement, and any other unusual factors (such as considering post-termination restrictions, effects on entitlements to bonus or commission payments etc).We usually expect a meeting to go through a settlement agreement to take up to two hours – excluding negotiating any amendments. But the exact amount of time and costs that it will take will depend on the precise details of the agreement and the circumstances of your case. We are happy to discuss this with you. 

Next steps

If you would like to instruct us, or learn more about our work please do not hesitate to contact us at Hallett Employment Law Services Ltd.

 

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