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Employment FAQ

For any customer seeking expert advice and funding information relating to employment

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What services do you provide in relation to employment claims?

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We act for claimant’s in employment law disputes covering all aspects of employment law before an employment tribunal, offering advice and representation.

What is the cost for these services?

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Our work is charged per hour and our rates are as :

  • Grade A (£250 plus VAT (£300 per hour) – Solicitors, fellows of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) with over eight years’ post qualification experience, including at least eight years’ litigation experience, and senior legal advisers with equivalent experience.
  • Grade B (£200 plus VAT (£240 per hour) – Solicitors and legal executives with over four years’ post qualification experience, including at least four years’ litigation experience, senior legal advisers with equivalent experience and costs lawyers depending on the complexity of the work.
  • Grade C (£175 plus VAT (£210 per hour) – Other solicitors, legal executives, legal advisers of equivalent experience, client liaison managers and costs lawyers depending on the complexity of the work.
  • Grade D £150 plus VAT (£180 per hour– Trainee solicitors, paralegals, other legal advisers, trainee costs lawyers and costs draftsman.

You will be informed at the start of the matter who is working on your case and at what Grade their work is charged. If for any reason this changes you will be informed of this before work is carried out.

We act under legal expenses insurance for an hourly rate of £120 plus VAT for customers of our contracted insurance partners. This is subject to the terms and conditions of the insurance policy being met. Customers can choose to use this cover to instruct a solicitor of their choice provided the firm agree to enter into our terms and conditions in line with their legal expenses policy.

We can also sometimes offer Damages Based Agreements or Conditional Fee Agreements in relation to employment matters. On these agreements we are paid by receiving 35% (including VAT) of any compensation you receive from your case. If you lose, then you pay nothing, subject to the terms and conditions of the agreement.

This is something that we only offer on suitable cases i.e. cases that have very good prospects of success and have sufficient financial value. Please note that under our Damages Based Agreement you are also responsible for paying any disbursements on your case yourself. We will ask for you to pay these to us before we incur any disbursements on your case.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, and can include:

  • Barristers fees
  • Medical reports
  • Court fees

The disbursements required vary from case to case and you will be fully advised of any disbursements that may be required in your case.

How long does an employment tribunal case take to complete?

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This depends on the complexity of the case and the geographical area the claim is brought in. There are regional employment tribunals all over the UK and the speed with which they deal with cases can vary enormously. However, on average we would estimate that a basic unfair dismissal case may take around 12 months to complete, while a more complex discrimination matter may take around 18-24 months to complete. If the matter is settled via negotiation, then the timescale may be less than this.

How many hours would you expect to spend on an average employment case?

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This can vary greatly depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. However, a standard unfair dismissal case may take in the region of 20 hours work to complete from issue of the claim to the final hearing.

Based on our hourly rates, this could equate to the following costs (inc. VAT):

  • Grade A solicitor: £6,000
  • Grade B solicitor: £4,800
  • Grade C solicitor: £4,200
  • Grade D solicitor: £3,600

A more complex matter, such as a discrimination claim may take around 40 hours work to complete from issue to final hearing.

Based on our hourly rates, this could equate to the following costs (inc. VAT):

  • Grade A solicitor: £12,000
  • Grade B solicitor: £9,600
  • Grade C solicitor: £8,400
  • Grade D solicitor: £7,200

The final hearing would then take on average a further 7-14 hours for a standard unfair dismissal case or 21-35 hours to complete a more complex matter. Costs of final hearings can vary depending on the length of the hearing. However, barristers tend to charge in the region of £750 to £1,000 plus VAT per day. There is also an increased fee in relation to the first day of a hearing, known as a ‘brief’ fee.  The first day is more expensive as you are also paying for the preparation time for the hearing. This starts at around £1250 plus VAT and increases depending on how many days the case is listed for. The more days, the more expensive this will be. You should also bear in mind that the more experienced the barrister, the more their fees will be.

Please bear in mind, the hours mentioned above do not relate to the overall time it takes for a tribunal case to be completed. To find out more about employment claims, please visit our employment claims journey.

Can I claim through my legal expenses insurance?

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This depends upon whether the terms of the policy are met. For example:

  • Is the issue/claim covered under the policy?
  • Does it have good prospects of success – over 50%?
  • Is it proportionate to use the cover to pursue the case?
  • Has the event occurred during the period of the policy of insurance?
  • Are all other terms of the insurance policy met?

How will I know how much the costs of my claim are?

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We will provide you with an update on the costs incurred every six months. However, if the position in relation to costs on your case were to change substantially, we would of course let you know.

What are the key stages in an employment tribunal claim?

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The first step in bringing an employment tribunal claim is to register the claim with ACAS Early Conciliation before the expiry of the deadline for the claim. A claim cannot be issued without having completed this process. ACAS contact the other side to try and reach an amicable solution via conciliation.

If the matter is not resolved via conciliation, then a claim needs to be issued to the employment tribunal within the prescribed time limit. This is done online at https://www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/employment-tribunal.

The claim form is then sent to the respondent (employer) and they are given 28 days to formally respond to the claim, setting out if they admit or deny the claim.

Once the tribunal has the documents they can then make case management orders to progress the case. These include exchanging all relevant documents, valuing the claim, preparing documents for use at the hearing and preparing witness statements. This is either done by the tribunal alone or at short hearing.

ACAS remain involved throughout the case to try and see if it is possible to reach a settlement (www.acas.org.uk). Many cases do settle after the claim has been issued but before a final hearing.

However, if the case doesn’t settle there will then be a final hearing to decide if you will win your case. This will be heard at the employment tribunal centre nearest to the respondent’s premises. The hearing can take anything from a day to multiple days depending on the complexity of the matter and number of witnesses. The tribunal will hear from all witnesses and question them as well as considering the paperwork before reaching decision.

If you are successful, the tribunal will then decide what compensation to award to you.

You can find out more about the key stages of an employment tribunal claim here.

What might increase the costs incurred/time spent in my case?

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There are various factors that can increase the cost of running a case, which may increase the risk that your insurance will not cover all the costs of your claim. These can include:

  • Matters that are legally very complex
  • The other sides poor conduct in defending your claim
  • Delays in the tribunal system/court process outside our control

Will my case be handled by a solicitor?

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Yes, we have a mix of qualified solicitors. They are all experienced in dealing with employment law issues such as unfair dismissal, contract disputes, redundancy, wages, discrimination, TUPE and whistleblowing. We also have trainees and paralegals in our team who may assist on your case. Although they are not legally qualified, they have received extensive training within our firm and any work done on your case will be supervised by a qualified solicitor at all times. Click here to learn more about the different types of employment claims and meet the team.

What other means of funding are available for employment cases?

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Claimants in employment tribunal cases can sometimes receive legal representation from their trade union.

You may also find that some solicitors offer Damages Based Agreements or Conditional Fee Agreements in relation to employment matters.

It is also possible to obtain legal assistance via Civil Legal Advice who provide government funded assistance (‘legal aid’). This is in relation to discrimination matters only: https://www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice

You could also engage a solicitor and pay privately for this. At Minster Law, we can offer to act for clients on a private basis in some cases. Other solicitors can be found via the law society website.