Estimating the cost of bringing an Employment Tribunal claim as a Claimant or defending an Employment Tribunal claim as a Respondent is unfortunately a difficult task and by necessity an inexact science.

Sometimes a preliminary issue, such as whether the Claimant has sufficient service to bring a claim, will add to the cost because it entails an additional hearing to consider that issue before a Full Merits Hearing and other times a preliminary issue will reduce the cost as the hearing to determine that issue disposes of the need for a subsequent Full Merits Hearing.

Many matters will settle as the claim progresses and so the legal fees incurred, by all parties, are often a direct reflection of how far the claim actually gets before a settlement is agreed.

Likewise, some matters which may seem legally straightforward have considerable factual background, large numbers of documents to disclose and many witnesses relevant to the proceedings. Other matters are very legally complex but have much less relevant evidence that will need to be considered in the course of the case.

All that said, it is very rare for an estimate of costs provided at the outset of a matter to prove to be inaccurate as it is generally possible to anticipate at that stage what aspects of the claim that has been brought are likely to add more cost than usual or are likely to reduce the usual cost.

The likely cost for a Claimant to pursue or a Respondent to defend a Tribunal claim is as follows; wherever possible precise estimates will be provided at the outset of all new client instructions.

Simple matter such as a straightforward Unfair Dismissal claim entailing a two-day hearing:

£6,000 – £10,000 plus VAT including representation at the hearing.

Complex matter such as a Discrimination claim entailing a four-day hearing:

£10,000 – £15,000 plus VAT including representation at the hearing.

Very complex matters such as cases that concern an unclear point of law requiring proceedings in the Employment Tribunal and an appeal being heard by the Employment Appeals Tribunal may exceed this cost and require representation from specialist Counsel. Even in such circumstances it is unlikely that the total cost including that representation from Counsel would exceed £25,000 plus VAT.

Either Claimants or Respondents may benefit from Legal Expenses Insurance (for Claimants this is sometimes an add-on to motoring or home insurance and for Respondents this sometimes forms part of their wider business insurance) that includes employment disputes. If so, and the insurer accepts that the matter must be funded, it is unlikely there would be any direct cost to our client themselves.

In certain circumstances where the prospects of a claim are good and there is potentially significant financial value in pursuing it, we may offer to represent Claimants on a Damages Based Agreement (DBA) basis. The fee charged would normally be a third of anything recovered whether via settlement or judgment and so if nothing is recovered nothing would be payable as legal costs (although there may occasionally be a disbursement cost such as instructing a medical expert to provide a report). A fee might sometimes be charged for the time spent in assessing whether we are able to offer funding on a DBA basis but, unless there is considerable paperwork to review, that would normally be capped at charging for an hour’s time, being £260 plus VAT at our usual rate.

If anything is unclear to a prospective or returning client with regards the likely cost of proceeding to instruct Wilde Law in a Tribunal matter please contact who would be pleased to clarify.

The costs set out here are a broad estimate based on sums charged in previous matters and a more precise estimate for the particular matter will normally be available at the outset of an instruction or as soon as possible thereafter.