How we charge

Depending on the type of work that you instruct us to undertake, we will charge you in one of three ways:

1. Based on our hourly rates:

This is the traditional way of charging for legal services.  We record how much time we spend dealing with your matter (recorded in 6-minute units) and charge you for how much time we have spent, in line with our hourly charge-out rates.  Depending on the level of fee earner, our hourly rates range from £165 +VAT to £230 +VAT for qualified solicitors.  These rates are within the guidelines set by the courts. 

We will do our best to give you an estimate of how much we expect each stage of your matter to cost.  However, these are estimates and may need to be revised up or down for a number of reasons, including if your matter becomes unexpectedly more complicated or if additional work is required for which we had not initially estimated.

2. In accordance with a fixed fee we have agreed with you

Where we can, we will agree a fixed fee for a piece of work with you.  We will agree a fee based on our estimate of the work that will be required, and you will have the comfort of knowing how much you will pay for it. 

Sometimes, the scope of the work changes, or additional work is required which had not been anticipated at the time we agreed the fixed fee with you.  In these situations, we may need to increase the fee in order to cover this additional work. However, we will let you know as soon as possible should this situation arise.

 

3. As part of an ongoing monthly retainer

Where you have ongoing legal requirements, we can agree a monthly retainer with you.  We will estimate your legal requirements and agree a fixed price per month for a set amount of legal support.  We will keep the retainer under a periodic review and will communicate with you about the need to adjust the level of the retainer up or down depending on your usage and expected legal needs. 

Our retainers are subject to a “fair usage” policy, and are not intended to cover substantive pieces of work.  However, they are ideal for ad hoc legal support, at a fixed price.We will agree a charging method with you at the outset of our relationship and set out the charging information in our engagement letter.

Our fees

In December 2018, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) introduced rules regarding transparency of pricing across a number of common services. In line with this, we have set out some examples below of how we charge for the employment tribunal and debt-recovery services that we offer. 

Employment Tribunal

Our employment team acts on behalf of individuals and employers on a range of issues, including unfair and wrongful dismissal claims in the Employment Tribunal.

Fee estimates

If you instruct us to represent you in an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim which does not involve elements of discrimination or whistleblowing, our fees would typically range between £6,000 and £15,000 plus VAT. 

Our fees typically fall into the following bands:

  • £6,000-£8,000 plus VAT for relatively simple or straightforward cases that are not factually complex or document heavy

  • £8,000-£12,000 plus VAT for cases involving elements of complexity, or which are document heavy or involve a factual background spanning a significant length of time

  • £12,000-£15,000 plus VAT for complex cases involving several strands, a number of witnesses and which may also be document heavy and / or spanning a significant length of time.  

 We charge for this type of work in line with our hourly rates, and the other factors which influence the time incurred and fees charged include:

  • The complexity of the matter, including a complex factual background, or claims that span a long period of time

  • The volume of documentation

  • The number of parties to the dispute

  • The number of witnesses involved

  • Claims that aren't for ordinary unfair/ wrongful dismissal, such as whistleblowing claims or claims that involve claims of discrimination too, under the Equality Act 2010

  • Claims against more than one potential employer

  • Defending claims by litigants in person

  • Applications for costs

In addition to our fees, you would be responsible for disbursements we incur, such as barrister’s fees. We will obtain your consent before we incur a barrister’s fees on your behalf.

Duration of claims and case progression

The duration of a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal will vary between each case, and in particular will be impacted by whether or not we can reach a settlement of the dispute, how proactive the other party is, and how busy the relevant Employment Tribunal is. 

The normal stages of bringing an unfair or wrongful dismissal claim are as follows (though these may vary on a case by case basis):

  • Meeting to discuss the claim or defence with you, and reviewing the relevant documents, and giving you initial advice on the prospects of successfully bringing or defending the claim, plus giving you an estimate of the likely costs, and the amount of compensation likely to be awarded in the case if the case is won. 

  • Advising you regarding the ‘pre-claim conciliation’ process with ACAS, if you have not already taken that’s step.

  • Drafting the claim or response and liaising with you to finalise the document before submitting it to the Employment Tribunal.

  • Reviewing the claim or response from other party and advising on whether the documentation signifies a need to change direction in respect of the pursuit or defence of the claim.

  • Exploring and negotiating settlement, - this will happen at different stages throughout the life of the claim

  • Preparing or advising on the terms of a ‘schedule of loss’ – which sets out the amount of compensation being claimed by the Claimant

  • Preparing for and attending any preliminary hearings on your behalf. These are telephone or in person hearings which mainly deal with the administration of the case and its preparation for the final hearing, or sometimes hearing to deal with preliminary points of law or fact.

  • Listing your relevant documents for the hearing, and exchanging lists with the other party and reviewing that list and requesting copies of documents not in your possession which the other party hold

  • Reviewing the other party’s documents and advising on any problems they may pose to your pursuit or defence of a claim

  • Agreeing a bundle of relevant documents which will be used at the final hearing and referred to in your witness statements.

  • Meeting with you and your witnesses and then drafting your witness statements.

  • Exchanging witness statements with the other party and reviewing their contents and advising you whether their content strengthen or weaken your position

  • Preparing or agreeing documents necessary to present your case at the hearing, such as a chronology, skeleton arguments or cast list.

  • Preparing for the final hearing, and instructing a barrister to advocate for you at that hearing.

  • Potentially applying for costs against the other party

If we are unable to settle the dispute and we proceed to final hearing in the Employment Tribunal, we would expect a case to take approximately 12 to 18 months to complete.

Additional matters such as bringing or defending a group action, appealing the outcome of a claim, or dealing with elements such as discrimination are not included in the fee estimates provided above.

Who will handle the matter for you

Our employment team is very experienced in dealing with cases in the Employment Tribunal.  Full details of our team and their experience is set out here.

Debt Recovery (for claims under £100k)

Our litigation team acts for a number of clients to help them recover debts owed to them.  For those claims which are worth less than £100,000, we charge  in line with our hourly rates, and the factors which influence the time incurred and fees charged include:

  • The value of the claim

  • The complexity of the matter

  • The volume of documentation

  • The number of parties to the dispute

  • The number of witnesses involved

  • The number of court hearings which take place

Assuming that the debt is undisputed, our fees for sending a letter of claim to the debtor, issuing court proceedings and obtaining judgment are usually as follows:

  1. Claims up to £10,000: £500 to £1,000 plus VAT

  2. Claims between £10,000 and £25,000: £1,000 to £2,500 plus VAT

The above fee ranges would not include any work that we undertake negotiating a settlement or payment plan with the debtor – this work would be charged in line with our hourly rates.

If the debtor chooses to defend the claim, then we will endeavour to give you costs estimates for each stage of the proceedings.

In addition to our fees, you would be responsible for the court fees.  There will be a fixed fee to issue a claim form, which varies depending on the value of the claim.  If the claim proceeds to trial, there will be other court fees to pay including a hearing fee and fees required for any applications we need to make on your behalf.  In addition to court fees, you would be liable for other disbursements including barrister’s fees.

The duration of a debt recovery claim will vary from case by case, depending on a number of factors including whether or not the debt is contested by the other party, and whether we can reach a settlement.  If the debt is not disputed and the debtor fails to respond to court proceedings, it would on average take approximately 2 to 4 months from the date that we send a letter of claim to the debtor to getting a judgment.  This will vary depending on how busy the courts are.  If the debt is disputed and we are required to issue court proceedings, it could take up to 18 months to get to a final hearing.

If we obtain judgment, we will then advise you on the options available to you to enforce the judgment, and give you costs estimates for how much each of those options is likely to cost.

Who will handle the matter for you

Our dispute resolution team is very experienced in dealing with debt recovery matters.  Full details of our team and their experience is set out here.