Under the new Transparency Rules published by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority all law firms are required, from December 2018, to publish information about the prices charged for Employment Tribunal claims for wrongful and unfair dismissal claims (Relevant Tribunal Claims).
This applies to cases we handle both for employers and for employees.
The purpose of the Transparency Rules is to make sure consumers have the information they need to make an informed choice of legal services provider, including understanding what the costs may be.
There are a number of specific details we are required to provide and these are set out below:
What do we charge?
We do not operate a standard fixed price for Relevant Tribunal Claims and instead we quote for individual matters on a case by case basis. This is because each case is different which means that there is no such thing as a “standard” case.
We are, however, able to agree capped and fixed fees for certain Relevant Tribunal Claims. The level of fees that we would charge will vary on a case by case basis and will depend on the facts of each particular case.
The starting point for fees is the hourly rate of the fee earners involved. We will assign fee earners to a case based on the availability of different members of our team, the appropriate level of fee earner and our client’s requests or wishes.
Team members and charge-out rates
We currently have seven members of our employment team and our details are as follows:
Our trainee changes every six months.
What will influence the range of fees?
The key factors in determining the range of fees for any Relevant Tribunal Claim will include the complexity of the facts of and the law that applies to the case, the period over which the timeline of the case has run, the number of relevant parties involved, the number of different types of claim made and the length of time for which the hearing is listed by the Employment Tribunal.
By way of simple example, an unfair dismissal case brought by one employee in relation to a single incident will cost less than a claim for wrongful and unfair dismissal for an employee that has been unhappy for many years and has a long list of grievances and is also claiming discrimination or whistleblowing against a number of employees of the employing company as well as the company itself.
We also find that costs can vary greatly based on the approach that our client wishes us to take and the approach taken by their opponent(s) – for example, our client might wish us to take a very low-key approach with a view to reaching the Tribunal hearing as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. That would usually mean that costs are lower than if our client asks us to litigate more aggressively. Notwithstanding the approach our client wishes us to take, the conduct (and cost) of a case will also be influenced by the conduct of the opponent, so we may find that a great deal of work is generated by our opponent that we have no choice but to undertake.
What is our range of costs?
For the reasons set out above, we do not have a “minimum” cost for a Tribunal case. It is, however, very unlikely that our fees for a Relevant Tribunal Claim would be less than £15,000 plus VAT and disbursements and in most cases would be more than that.
Do stated prices include VAT?
No, any fee or hourly rate quoted is exclusive of VAT.
What is included within the price displayed?
Only our fees for conducting the case are included within the prices displayed. Disbursements such as photocopying, travel costs and costs of third parties (such as experts and barristers) are not included. We will, however, quote at the appropriate time for all fees and costs that we reasonably anticipate will be need to be incurred.
In any Tribunal case it is very likely that we would instruct a barrister to conduct the hearing of the matter before the Employment Tribunal. Barristers’ fees will vary from case to case but, for a one day hearing, may range from as little as £1,500 plus VAT for a very junior barrister to tens of thousands of pounds for a very senior barrister.
We will always agree with our client which barrister we will instruct and what their fees will be before we instruct them, and require that the barrister’s fees are paid to us by our client before they are incurred.
If we publish a range of costs, we need to set out the basis for our charges, including any hourly rates and the types of factors that will determine what the final price will be
If we offer our services in different ways and the delivery model impacts on the price, make this clear. For example, if we charge a higher fee for face-to-face services than for strictly online services
We do not offer our services according to different delivery models, save that we may in limited circumstances agree an adjustment to our normal fee structure to include a reduction in our own fees if we do not achieve an agreed outcome with a corresponding increase in our own fees if we do achieve an agreed outcome. For example, if we quote £20,000 plus VAT to conduct a case all the way to a final hearing we may agree to reduce our fees by 25% if we lose the case and increase fees by 25% if we win.
We may charge according to our normal hourly rates in order to assess the case and decide if it is appropriate to offer to do the work on this sort of contingency fee basis and, if so, what the terms might be.
This is not the same as a “no win no fee” agreement. We do not operate or accept no win no fee agreements for Relevant Tribunal Cases.
If using an online quote generator, the generator must produce a quote directly without requiring any addition
We do not use an online quote generator. Each case is accepted and costed on an individual basis.
What if an unforeseen complexity arises?
When an unforeseen complexity arises or where the way in which a client asks us to proceed means additional work, we will endeavour to inform the client and provide revised costs information.
Do we undertake employment cases other than Relevant Tribunal Cases?
Yes. As well as wrongful and unfair dismissal cases we are regularly instructed by employers and employees on a wide range of Employment Tribunal cases including in relation to discrimination, harassment, victimisation, whistleblowing, holiday pay, working time, family-friendly rights, employment status, equal pay, confidential information and post-employment restrictive covenants. We also offer non-contentious and advisory work in relation all those matters and more, for example we regularly advise individuals on the terms of settlement agreements that they enter with their employers.
Although we are not required by the SRA to publish details of the way in which we charge for such cases, we can confirm that the factors set out in this note apply equally to all matters on which we accept instructions.