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.
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.
Legal aid is an option. Although it is not something we can help you with, it is a government initiative to help people meet the cost of legal advice. To be eligible for legal aid there are two main questions you should ask yourself:
- Is your case within the category of legal cases that legal aid is available for?
- Are you financially eligible?
If you think you qualify for Legal Aid you must instruct a Legal Aid firm. We aren’t able to conduct work on this basis, but you can find more information on this here: https://www.gov.uk/legal-aid.
There are some other options available for funding your employment claim. These will incur charges, but one of these may be the best option for your circumstances. You can read more about them below:
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.
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.
Other DBA fees
Other fees, which are referred to as ‘disbursements’ and include things like court fees, expert fees and barristers fees would still need to be paid as normal. 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.
After the Event insurance
As DBAs could leave you liable for paying the other side’s costs should the claim be lost, it is important to consider taking out ‘After the Event’ insurance.
This refers to a policy we can purchase on your behalf, after an employment incident has taken place, or something you can purchase independently. It is usually purchased in the absence of Before the Event Insurance (more information on this below), and it protects you from having to pay the other side’s costs should your claim be unsuccessful.
There is no legal requirement to have legal expenses insurance to pursue a claim, but without it you may be exposed to unnecessary financial risk if the claim is unsuccessful.
If you decide to purchase After the Event insurance, you will have to pay an unrecoverable premium in exchange for the insurance (for ATE insurance policies taken out on or after 1 April 2013, the insurance premiums you pay for this are not recoverable from your losing opponent if your case wins). This means that whether your case wins or loses, you will have to pay the ATE insurance premium. You can’t recover this from your opponent.
Before the Event Insurance
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).
You should check to see whether you have Before the Event 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 choice, meaning it’s possible for us to act under legal expenses insurance policies should you have this funding line 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.
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.