Price & Service Information

1. In accordance with the SRA’s Transparency Rules, we set out below appropriate cost and service information relating to the provision of advice and representation to employees and employers in relation to the bringing or defending of claims before the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal and/or wrongful dismissal.

Costs Information

2. Employment advice to employers and employees is provided by Claire Thorogood and Michelle Last, partners and experienced solicitors in Punter Southall Law. They each charge Punter Southall Law’s clients an hourly rate of £450-550 (subject to complexity and any fixed or capped fee structure which the firm may agree from time to time with clients). Partners’ hourly rates are reviewed each May. VAT at the rate of 20% is added to the firm’s hourly charges. Punter Southall Law will in general submit monthly invoices to its clients unless agreed otherwise with the client.

3. Most cases of unfair or wrongful dismissal do not end up in the Employment Tribunal on account of the following:

the expense of litigation;

‘capped’ compensation;

the duty to mitigate loss; and

the fact that legal costs are rarely recoverable even if a party is successful.

4. Accordingly, cases of unfair and/or wrongful dismissal tend to result in early settlement which limits the exposure to legal costs. Legal advice in general therefore consists of:

a meeting in person or telephone consultation to establish the facts and client’s objectives;

written advice setting out the position and recommended action;

written and/or verbal negotiation with the other party (often via their representative); and

agreeing a Settlement Agreement.

5. This usually requires approximately 10-15 hours’ of time. The average legal cost for the provision of this particular legal service can therefore be anywhere between £4,500 and £8,250 (plus VAT). The employer makes a small contribution towards the employee’s legal costs in respect of the settlement but this is unlikely to exceed £500-750. 

6. Legal costs will be higher if a claim is issued in the Employment Tribunal. Although there are no Court issue fees in the Tribunal, costs are high. This is, in part, on account of the need for:

formal legal documents to be drafted and served, for example, a Claim or Defence; and 

court attendance by legal representatives.

7. Preparation and attendance at the Tribunal can be time-consuming and if a claim does not settle and a hearing (or trial) eventually takes place, costs can be considerable. Counsel is usually instructed and the average total cost of the work required to get to a 3 day hearing, for example, will be in the region of £30k-50k (plus VAT). VAT is charged on counsel/barrister fees but issuing a claim in the Tribunal does not incur a Court fee (or therefore, a charge to VAT). 

8. It can take around 6 months for a case to come to trial and considerable work is needed during that period. For example, the preparation of case statements (“pleadings”) to go before the court, the disclosure and consideration of relevant documents by both parties and the preparation of witness statements. We do not take on cases on a conditional fee or damages-based arrangement. 

9. Prolonged litigation and trials are, on account of costs, very rare in cases of unfair or wrongful dismissal unless they form part of a case that also includes claims for discrimination and/or whistle-blowing. 

10. Please Note: the information above relates to costs arising in the cases of unfair and/or wrongful dismissal only.

11. In the provision of other legal services, Punter Southall Law complies fully with its obligations under the SRA’s Code of Conduct, Chapter 1, Client Care:

our clients receive the best possible information about the likely overall costs of their matter both at the time of engagement and when appropriate as their matter progresses; and

if we enter into any fee arrangement with a client, we ensure that the agreement is legal and suitable for the client’s needs and takes into account the client’s best interests.