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Unfair dismissal/constructive dismissal/Wrongful dismissal

Employees who have two years’ continuous service have the right not to be unfairly dismissed.  In certain circumstances you may have a claim that you were automatically unfairly dismissed - for example, if your dismissal was related to whistleblowing, health and safety, or childbirth.  There is no qualifying period for these claims.

If you can show that your employer did not have a fair reason to dismiss you, or that they did not follow a fair procedure then you may have a claim for compensation in the Employment Tribunal.  You may have a claim for constructive dismissal if, because of your employer’s conduct, you have resigned and treated yourself as dismissed.

If the Employment Tribunal decides that you have been unfairly dismissed, it may order your employer to re-employ you and pay arrears of wages, or simply to pay compensation. The sum awarded consists of a basic award (calculated in the same manner as a redundancy payment) and a compensatory award based on your net loss of earnings.

There are five potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee.  A dismissal will only be fair if:

  • the employee is incapable or unqualified to do the job in hand (e.g. long-term sickness absence);

  • the employee's conduct is unsatisfactory;
  • the employee is legally prevented from continuing to carry out their job (e.g. a van driver who loses their licence);

  • redundancy (e.g. due to closure of premises); or

  • “some other substantial reason” (e.g. refusal to agree to a necessary and reasonable change in Terms and Conditions of Employment).


It is not sufficient for an employer simply to demonstrate a potentially fair reason for dismissal. The employer must also act reasonably in all the circumstances in deciding to dismiss the employee.

Since May 2014 an employee wishing to make an Employment Tribunal claim must (with only a few exceptions) make use of the ACAS “Early Conciliation procedure”.  In general terms, the procedure extends by one calendar month the time limit (generally three months) for issuing an Employment Tribunal claim.  Early Conciliation may lead to a negotiated settlement tracked and documented by ACAS.  If conciliation fails, or the employer elects not to participate in the process, ACAS will issue an Early Conciliation certificate.  The certificate will contain a unique reference number.  An Employment Tribunal claim cannot be issued without citing that number. 


Unfair or wrongful dismissal (Range of costs)

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

Simple case: £6,000 - £8,000 (excluding VAT)

Medium complexity case: £8,000 - £13,000 (excluding VAT)

High complexity case: £13,000 - £26,000 (excluding VAT)

Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • The number of Claimants or Respondents;
  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim;
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person (people with no legal representation);
  • Making applications for witness orders;
  • Applying for medical records or a medical report;
  • Making or defending a costs application;
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties);
  • Preparation of a complex schedule of loss (document detailing all claimed losses);
  • The number of witnesses and volume of documents;
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer; and no process has been followed by your employer.
  • Claims relating to shareholdings or company directorships;
  • Insolvency, TUPE or collective consultation related claims; and
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing based on the hourly rate of the fee earner with conduct of the litigation per day. Generally, we would allow 1 - 5 days depending on the complexity of your case.  Hourly rates range from £215 to £325 (plus VAT), depending on the experience and the level of the solicitor dealing with the matter. 


Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Barristers’ fees for assisting with a matter are generally from £750 to £2,500 (plus VAT) per day (depending on their experience) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation for the Hearing).

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 ACAS Early Conciliation to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
  • Preparing claim or response;
  • Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party;
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process;
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss (document detailing losses claimed);
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing;
  • Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents;
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
  • Preparing bundle of documents;
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements
  • Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or case list together with any supplemental documents required; and
  • Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs and will impact on price.


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 - 6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 2 – 8 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.


Meet the Team

Blacks’ Employment Team has a wealth of knowledge and experience over a complete range of employment law issues. We are renowned for our friendly and pragmatic approach.

Paul Kelly is the Head of Department with overall responsibility for the team and supervises all team members on respective matters, save for matters handled by other partners in the team who have responsibility for that matter. 

Employment Bulletins

To view any of our recent bulletins please click on the date below.

27/11/2018 - “Carriages at midnight” – A Christmas warning

20/11/2018 - Winning the holiday jackpot

13/11/2018 - Employment Tribunal Fees – a Phoenix from the ashes?

06/11/2018 - Employing and Dismissing Reservists

30/10/2018 - Personal liability for whistleblowing claims

23/10/2018 - The abolition of Employment Tribunal fees: what has been the real effect?

17/10/2018 - Postponing Disciplinary Hearings

09/10/2018 - Parental Bereavement Leave

02/10/2018 - Tipped Off?

25/09/2018 - Notice: will it always be regarded as resignation?

You can view all of our past bulletins here.

You can sign up to our employment bulletins here. 

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Chris Allen
Chris Allen
Managing Partner
0113 227 9228

Chris Allen qualified as a Solicitor in 1993 and joined Blacks Solicitors in 1994, where he has held the position of Managing Partner since 2008.

He specialises in advising on the drafting and negotiation of Settlement Agreements, drafting contracts of employment, and conducting Employment Tribunal proceedings.

Chris is recognised by The Legal 500 for “leading by example” and for being “friendly and reasonable”. He has also been flagged by Chambers & Partners as “an absolutely first class communicator, whether that is with his clients or with the community more widely.”

He is also a member of the firm’s Sports Law team which acts on behalf of a number of sports clubs, associations, manufacturers and retailers. The Team is recommended by The Legal 500 for providing “a very high level of service.” Chris is noted as a Leading Individual in this area of law and is described as a “consummate professional and a concise lawyer with a fine eye for detail.”

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly
0113 227 9249

Paul Kelly joined Blacks Solicitors in 2002, where he trained, qualified, and became a Partner in 2011. He is Head of the Employment team and supports Owner Managed Businesses (OMBs) and senior executives.

Having practiced exclusively in employment law for 14 years, Paul is regarded as an experienced practitioner who is known for his common sense approach to dealing with employment disputes and his focus on achieving the best commercial outcome for his clients.

He specialises in advising on redundancy, restructuring, grievances, disciplinary procedures, and employment litigation, and has particular expertise in advising on and negotiating senior exit strategies on behalf of employers and employees.

Paul is frequently asked to provide commentary for national publications on a vast range of employment and HR issues such as the gig economy, the display of religious symbols at work and bereavement leave.

He is recognised by the Legal 500 as being a “phenomenal lawyer”, “personable” and “technically strong.”

Richard Parr
Richard Parr
0113 227 9246

Richard Parr qualified as a Solicitor in 1978 and has worked at Blacks Solicitors since 2009, where he is currently a Partner in the Employment team.

With 40 years’ post-qualification under his belt, Richard is an expert employment practitioner, combining intellect with practical application to add real value for clients. He specialises in TUPE, employment issues in insolvency, executive termination packages (including tax issues), post termination restrictions and the Commercial Agents Regulations.

His background in civil litigation has given him an invaluable skill-set for those employment disputes which are particularly acrimonious, allowing him to display a powerful grasp of both tactics and litigation psychology.

Richard is described by the Legal 500 as having “too many strengths to list” and attracts praise for his “entrepreneurial style and approach.” He is noted by Chambers & Partners as being “recognised by peers for his reputation in the SME market and his broad employment knowledge.”

Tom Moyes
Tom Moyes
0113 227 9238

Tom Moyes qualified at Blacks Solicitors in 2009. He became a Partner in 2015 and currently works in the Employment team.

He provides his clients with clear and practical legal advice in respect of employment law issues and acts for both individuals and companies.

Tom specialises in: disciplinary and grievance procedures; discrimination; preparation of contracts of employment; directors’ service agreements; employment policies; Settlement Agreements; restructuring and redundancy; and exit strategies.

He also specialises in Tribunal litigation and has been described by his clients as “clearly a very talented solicitor” and “nothing short of brilliant”.

Tom is also recognised by The Legal 500 as being a “star lawyer”, “razor sharp”, and for his “communication skills and legal knowledge”, with him being “able to communicate on both a lawyer level and personal level extremely well”.

Euan Lawrence
Euan Lawrence
0113 227 9207

Euan Lawrence is an Associate Solicitor in the Employment team. Having joined Blacks Solicitors in 2006, Euan qualified in 2008 and was promoted to Associate in 2014.

He specialises in providing clear, practical advice on workplace disputes and other aspects of employment law to employers (predominantly owner managed businesses) and individual employees.

Particular areas of strength include drafting and negotiating settlement agreements, advising on exit strategies, preparing service agreements, advising on TUPE transfers (related to business sales, tendering for public sector contracts and intra-group transfers) and contesting Employment Tribunal claims.

Euan has considerable experience of presenting on a variety of topics to clients and business contacts both through Blacks and his involvement with a BNI networking group (of which he has been a member for over 9 years). He has also appeared on BBC Radio Leeds, Radio Aire and BBC Look North discussing the practical application of the law to the workplace.

Euan is also recognised by The Legal 500 for his “enthusiastic and extremely dedicated” approach.

Iain Jenkins
Iain Jenkins
Employment Director
0113 227 9308

Iain Jenkins is an Employment Director in the Employment team.

He has over 20 years’ experience as an employment lawyer and joined Blacks Solicitors in 2015 to further strengthen the Employment team.

He acts on a wide range of employment issues both for employers and individuals, including restrictive covenants and confidentiality cases. He regularly advises on and negotiates settlement agreements and termination packages. His work also covers general advice on HR matters and advice required on the sale and purchase of businesses, particularly covering TUPE. In addition to his advisory work, Iain runs external training courses on behalf of Blacks on general employment matters.

He also advises on data protection and particularly the impact of GDPR. This work covers advice on the employment and commercial aspects of data protection.

Iain has been recognised in Chambers Legal Directory and is also a CEDR accredited mediator. He has mediated a number of commercial disputes. Iain has also recently qualified as a workplace mediator.

David Ward
David Ward
0113 227 9262

David Ward is an Associate Solicitor in the Employment and Commercial teams. He trained with Blacks Solicitors from 2011 and qualified as a Solicitor in 2013.

He acts for both individuals and companies, providing clients with clear and practical legal advice and excellent client care.

He specialises in running Employment Tribunal litigation, negotiating complex and contentious settlement agreements and advising upon all aspects of employment law disputes. David has a particular interest in the education and military sectors which are niche areas of employment law.

David also undertakes commercial advice, especially relating to the automotive industry.

David is recognised by the Legal 500 for his “ability to explain the legal process in simple terms”.

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