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Legal Costs for Employees - Employment Tribunal Costs

Legal costs for employees bringing cases in the employment tribunal

The information provided below is a guide to approximate costs and timescales. We would always advise you to contact the office and speak to a member of our team to obtain a more detailed costs estimate and timescale tailored to your individual circumstances.

These notes relate to a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal brought by an ex-employee against their former employer.

Please contact a member of our team if you are considering pursuing any of the many other types of Employment Tribunal case.

Find the details of the solicitors who deal with Employment Tribunal cases.

The total cost for bringing claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal

After an initial meeting and review of the available papers we will usually be able to specify a range for the costs we will charge for handling your claim.

The total costs for handling the whole of the claim from start to finish after an Employment Tribunal hearing are likely to be within one of the following bands:

  • Simple case: £4,000-£7,000 (plus VAT);
  • Medium complexity case: £7,000-£15,000 (plus VAT);
  • High complexity case: £15,000-£25,000 (plus VAT).

Most cases are settled without the need for an Employment Tribunal hearing. Sometimes Employees want to deal with some of the work themselves. In these cases our costs will be lower than these amounts to reflect the amount of the work we do.

If you are a member of a professional organisation, trade union or have legal expenses insurance you may be able to use Newtons without paying some or all of the legal costs.

The Basis of our Charges

Our charges are based on the time spent on a matter using the charge out rate applicable to the solicitor doing the work.

If we quote you a fixed fee or a range of fees we will not exceed that amount for the work it covers. If you ask us to do extra work we will give you a figure when we know what is involved.


Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Depending on the case and your preferences it may be more cost effective for one of our solicitors to represent you at the hearing or for us to arrange for a barrister to represent you instead. If you use a barrister there fees are likely to be between £1,000 to £2,000 per day (plus VAT) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation). There will be a reduction in our fees of a similar amount unless you decide we should attend the hearing as well as the barrister.

There are unlikely to be any other disbursements apart from travel expenses for attending any hearings.

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 the claim;
  • Reviewing and advising on the 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;
  • Agreeing the 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 the Final Hearing or preparing instructions to Counsel to represent you at the Final Hearing

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;
  • 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 or other matters which are linked to the dismissal;
  • If the case needs more than a single one day hearing at the Employment Tribunal.

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 between 2 and 4 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 20 and 30 weeks.

These are just estimates and we will be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.


If either party is dissatisfied with any decision of the Employment Tribunal they may be able to ask the Tribunal to review its decision or appeal against it. Although rare any of these cases will involve extra costs.

General Enquiries

Legal costs for employees bringing cases in the employment tribunal Team