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
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).
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.