A work dispute with your employer can be stressful, and the last thing you want to be worried about is how to pay for the legal support you require.
We are dedicated to helping you get the best possible outcome in the most cost-effective way. Our team of employment solicitors aim to settle disputes without having to go to the employment tribunal, which keeps costs down in itself.
However, we can represent you at the tribunal and will be open and honest about the cost implications of bringing an employment claim at every stage. You can rest assured that we will give you accurate information regarding costing throughout your claim.
It is our duty to make you aware of all the available funding options you have when it comes to employment claims, including those that are not offered at our firm. Below is a comprehensive list of all the options available to you.
Your Employment Team
Neha Thethi – Head of Employment
Neha qualified in 2010 and specialises in claimant employment and trade union work. Neha has 11 years’ experience and a demonstrable track-record of achieving successful results in the best interests of clients in equal pay disputes, sex discrimination cases, unfair dismissal and large contentious employment cases amongst others.
Louise Mankau – Barrister – Doughty Street Chambers
Year of Call: 2005
Louise is an employment and discrimination law specialist who, over her 16 years’ experience since being called to the bar, has developed a practice covering all aspects of employment and discrimination law. She is regularly instructed in various aspects of employment litigation including all forms of discrimination, whistle blowing claims, TUPE matters, constructive/unfair dismissal and contract law. She is also experienced in employment-related international administrative law matters.
Lucy Needham – Litigation Legal Assistant
Lucy graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2019 after completing her law degree. Lucy now works as a Litigation Legal Assistant within the employment disputes team at Lime Solicitors. Lucy conducts initial interviews and assessments of potential claims and acts on behalf of those who have been treated unfairly by their employers.
How do I fund my legal claim?
There are some ‘free’ options available that may offer you the opportunity to progress your complaint or claim, at least in the first instance, without incurring any legal charges:
Use an internal complaint procedure
Where there is an internal complaint procedure available within your workforce, this may be the best starting place for your complaint. Most employers will have one of these, so be sure to enquire.
Use an internal legal Ombudsman
Where the profession you work for has its own internal complaints procedure, for example, if you work at a law firm then speaking with the Legal Ombudsman may be a route to go down.
Use an external Ombudsman specific to your profession
The most common example of this that you will probably come across is the Financial Services Ombudsman. The Ombudsman here has far reaching powers and the service is free, although it can take a lot of time for matters to be adjudicated, and in some instances it can be quite complex to achieve a resolution in terms of the information that needs to be supplied.
Damage Based Agreements
We are one of the only employment law firms in the UK to offer Damage Based Agreements (DBA) for all types of claimant employment cases.
What is a DBA?
A ‘DBA’ is an arrangement whereby the payment of our fees depends upon the success of the claim. This means that if the case is won or settlement terms are agreed, we would be paid by taking a percentage of the compensation that you are awarded, or in the event of reinstatement, a pre-agreed fee. An employment DBA is sometimes referred to as a “no win, no fee” agreement, meaning that we are sharing the risk of your litigation with you, providing that you adhere to the terms of our agreement. Please note: before deciding whether to proceed with a ‘DBA’ arrangement, we offer free initial case assessments ordinarily in the region of 30 minutes.
Other DBA fees
Other fees can be referred to as ‘disbursements’. Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. This is something you can discuss with one of our employment solicitors, as they’ll be able to explain more about how the agreement works.
If a DBA is not right for you, we can offer an alternative “fixed fee” option should you wish to fund your claim this way.
Our fixed cost is £225 plus VAT for 1 hour. This is usually sufficient time to review very brief papers, discuss the problem at hand and get an understanding of the issues. This also leaves time to answer any questions or give advice as to the future steps needed.
We also offer 30-minute sessions if you don’t require the full hour.
Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI)
Before commencing any claim, it is vital that you check whether you have any existing legal expenses insurance that could help cover the costs of your employment claim. Some insurance, such as home insurance, may have built in legal expenses cover, which could cover some if not all of the cost of the case as if it were proceeding on hourly rates (but with the insurer paying as opposed to you directly).
Every insurer has its own procedure. Some may ask you to complete a form in which you are asked to provide a summary of your employment issues together with supporting evidence. The insurer will then look to see whether your case has more than 51% chance of succeeding and that the cost of funding is not more than the amount of compensation you are likely to receive.
You should check to see whether you have Legal Expenses Insurance, and find out the exact terms to see how much of the case, if not all, it will cover. You should also enquire whether it will cover adverse costs too, which refer to the costs of the other side, if the case is lost.
If cover is available, you may find the insurer wants to appoint their own “panel” solicitor. This is where a firm already has an agreement with the insurer to pick up cases for them. A client has the freedom to instruct legal experts of their own choice, meaning it’s possible for us to act under the LEI policy should you have this funding available to you.
Our solicitors’ hourly rates
Our hourly rates are competitive, and mean that you will be charged for the work done on your case on an hourly basis. Work would be carried out at the level of experience required, with expert professionals on hand to assist you throughout your claim.
Below is a guide to our hourly employment law rates:
- Trainee rate: £130 + VAT
- Associate solicitor: £265 + VAT
- Partner: £350 + VAT
Please note the prices indicated are national rates and exclude our London rates.
Before starting work on your case, we will be able to estimate roughly how much the fees will be, and we will advise you of this at the start. If more time needs to be spent on the case, we will inform you straight away, but we will endeavour to keep to the estimated rate given to you at the beginning of your case.
Any estimate given to you will accurately reflect the time already taken on the case, as well as that which is expected to be taken as the case develops. If, as the case progresses, there is a significant change that is likely to affect the costs set out in the original estimate, you will be provided with a revised estimate as soon as possible.
Choosing this option means that the overall sum of compensation will belong solely to you. You will be invoiced for work as it progresses and will be required to pay whether you win or lose.
Example of Costs under a Damages Based Agreement
If your case recovers £40,000, and under the terms of the DBA contract, we get paid by taking 35% (inclusive of VAT) of the compensation award, our charges would be £14,000 (inclusive of VAT). In terms of claiming costs from the other side this would be based on the time spent and usual hourly rates, not the DBA percentage.
Example of costs using our hourly rates
Example of costs using our hourly rates
Should you choose to instruct us based on our hourly rates, then the pricing for bringing claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal may cost in the following region:
- Simple case: £5,000-£10,000 (excluding VAT, charged at 20%)
- Medium complexity case: £10,000-£20,000 (excluding VAT, charged at 20%)
- High complexity case: £20,000+ (excluding VAT, charged at 20%)
Factors that could make a case more complex:
- If it is necessary to make applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
- Making 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 may be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing day depending on whether you choose to instruct legal counsel (a barrister). Daily rates for legal counsel range between £200-£1,500 per day but we would discuss all options with you. Generally, we would allow 1-2 days for a simple employment claim or 4-6 for a more complex case.
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 claim or response from the other side
- 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 side 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 side’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 up to 12 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 40-60 weeks. 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.
If it is your desire to be reinstated in your role following your claim, and you are successful in this endeavour, our fees will be between 3-6 months of your annual salary. You can discuss this with your solicitor prior to bringing the claim.
During the course of your claim, it may be necessary to engage Legal Counsel (a barrister) to represent you at tribunal. You will be liable to pay these fees regardless of the outcome of your claim. We will notify you of the need to instruct counsel if it arises and agree any course of action with you before proceeding. Counsel’s fees will apply to both DBA or hourly rate claims if you choose to use legal counsel.
Other expenses may also need to be paid by you in the course of your claim. These include commissioning expert reports and your own travel expenses. Again, we will notify of you of any costs payable by you before commissioning any experts to provide evidence for your claim.
If you are found to be dishonest or you choose to go against our advice during the claim, we reserve the right to terminate our retainer with you and charge you a fee based on our hourly rates as specified above.
Get in touch with our employment solicitors
We understand legal costs can be complicated, and add unnecessary stress to your situation. That’s why we operate with full transparency, providing you with accurate information throughout your claim. If you wish to contact us about a claim or if you have a query about funding, feel free to call us on 0808 164 0808, or request a call back and we will call you.