Our Fees Explained: Employment

We aim to deliver a professional service which achieves your aims whilst being transparent about our pricing structure. Our focus is on providing excellent value for money whilst providing a personal touch to our service.

Types of Claim

There are a number of prospective claims which you could have and the extent of the fees which are payable will be dependent on the complexity, value and type of claim you pursue. Individual fee quotes will be provided on a case by case basis.

Funding Options

There are a number of ways to fund claims in the Employment Tribunal and we will aim to provide a funding package for you which is suitable for particular circumstances. We are not obliged to offer any particular method of funding and some methods of funding may only be available in cases where we assess that the case is suitable for both you and us.

Typically, the funding options we can consider are:

Private Retainer

You will pay us for our charges based on an hourly rate set in our retainer. We will provide you with an estimate of fees from time to time but our charges will be based on the amount of time we spend on your matter.

Our standard hourly rates are dependent on the qualification and experience of the fee earner dealing with the matter.

Grade of Fee Earner Hourly Rate
Grade A

Any Solicitor or Legal Executive with over 8 years PQE. Grade A will include any Director

£225 per hour plus VAT
Grade B

Any Solicitor or Legal Executive with more than 4 year’s PQE but less than 8 year’s PQE. Any other fee earner with more than 4 years experience.

£200 per hour plus VAT
Grade C

Any Solicitor or Legal Executive with less than 4 years PQE. Any other fee earner with more than 1 year but less than 4 years experience. Trainee Solicitors shall be regarded as Grade C if they have more than 2 years experience prior to commencement of the training contract.

£175 per hour plus VAT
Grade D

Any Trainee Solicitor or other fee earner with less than 1 year’s experience.

£135 per hour plus VAT

An estimate of our charges on a Private Retainer are detailed below.

 

Damages Based Agreement (DBA’)

A DBA is a form of No Win No Fee Agreement. A DBA provides that we will charge you a fixed percentage of your damages. There will be no charge for our professional fees if the claim fails. You will remain responsible for disbursements albeit you may be able to obtain insurance to insure this risk.

The amount we charge is not relevant to the time we spend on your case but will always be proportionate to the value of the outcome.

If we are willing to offer you a DBA then our charge will be 35% of your damages, inclusive of VAT, in respect of our charges. This will not include any disbursements we incur.

Fixed Fee

We may agree to charge you a fixed fee for a particular matter, or part of a matter. Our charge will not be relevant to the time we spend on the matter albeit an estimate of the likely time we spend on a matter will be used as the basis for setting the fee.

We may set a number of fixed fees relevant to a matter to fix a fee for a particular matter in the transaction or dispute. By way of example, we may agree a fixed fee to review your prospects of success and provide an advice on this.

Legal Expenses Insurance (‘LEI’)

If you have the benefit of pre-existing legal expenses insurance then this LEI may indemnify all or part of your legal fees. It is your duty to notify us if you believe that you may have LEI and we will not conduct an exhaustive search for LEI.

LEI can typically be found on household insurance, business insurance, motor insurance or credit cards. If you instruct us to make enquiries with an LEI provider then we reserve the right to charge a fee based on our hourly rate for doing so.

If your legal fees are covered by virtue of an LEI provider then we will enter into a private retainer with you and the insurer may, subject to approval, indemnify our legal fees.

Trade Union Cover

If you have the benefit of Trade Union cover then this cover may pay for all or part of your legal fees. It is your duty to notify us if you believe that you may have Trade Union cover and we will not conduct an exhaustive search for such cover.

Estimate of Fees

We have provided two examples of fees below based on different styles of funding.

Private Retainer

The extent of our fees will be dependent upon the amount of time we spend on your case and the level of the fee earner who has conduct of the matter. We will allocate a fee earner of a suitable level to your case. So for example, more complex cases will ordinarily be dealt with by more senior staff.

By way of example if a case is dealt with by our Head of Department, Ben Palmer, his hourly rate is £225 per hour plus VAT. If we spent 10 hours working on your file, our fees would therefore equate to £2,250 plus VAT.

The amount of time we spend on a case will depend on the stage at which a case settles. So for example our charges may be more on a less complex case which proceeds to a final Tribunal hearing than our fees on a more complex case which settles quickly.

We will provide you with an estimate of our fees on a case by case basis. Based on experience our usual estimate of fees to a final Tribunal hearing would be:

Simple cases: £2,000 – 5,000 (excluding VAT and disbursements) – a simple case may include a claim for unlawful deduction of wages, a claim for redundancy pay or a simple breach of contract case.

Medium complexity case: £5,000 – 10,000 (excluding VAT) – medium complex cases may include claims for Unfair Dismissal or more complex breach of contract claims such as holiday claims or claims relating to commission payments.

High complexity case: £10,000 – 15,000 (excluding VAT) – typically higher complex cases will involve issues of discrimination, whistleblowing or victimisation.

Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • 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
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
  • The number of witnesses and documents
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of around £1,250 – 2,000 per day (excluding VAT). Generally final hearings are listed for 0.5 – 5 days, however can be listed for longer periods of time if there is a lot of witness evidence to hear, an extensive number of documents need to be considered or your case is particularly complex. We may also have to conduct one of more Preliminary Hearings which are typically listed for an hour to half a day, although for complex cases can last longer. Legal fees for attending a hearing This charged may be raised by the Solicitor or by a Barrister where a Barrister is representing you at the Tribunal Hearing.

Damages Based Agreement

Under a damages based agreement, our charges are based on a fixed deduction from your damages based on a fixed percentage of 35% excluding disbursements.

For example, if your claim is settled or awarded the sum of £30,000 then our fees would be £10,500 irrespective of the time we spend on the matter. Conversely if your case settles for £5,000 then our fees would be £1,750.

The advantage of a DBA to you is that it gives you certainty that our costs are proportionate to the award. The disadvantage is that our fees under a DBA could be higher than under a private retainer particularly with higher value cases which settle quickly.

We are not obliged to offer a DBA and we will only offer a DBA where we believe that there sufficient prospects of success and the value of any anticipated damages are sufficient to do so.

Disbursements

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.

If your case goes to a Tribunal hearing and it is necessary to instruct Counsel then Counsel will ordinarily charge a daily or hourly rate based on their level of experience. Counsel’s fees are estimated between £1,250 to £2,000 per day (depending on experience of the advocate) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation)

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 pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory 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
  • 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 cast list
  • 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.

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 4-8 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 6 to 18 months, and sometimes longer in complex cases. 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.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

If you would like to enquire about any of our services, call us now on 0113 200 9787 or email us at enquiries@oakwoodsolicitors.co.uk.

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