If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing to bring or defend an employment tribunal claim, you are likely to have questions about what is involved. The following will give you a feel for the process and, importantly, the potential costs.

Why choose Mitchell Law for your litigation

We are a team with a wealth of experience and expertise in employment tribunal litigation. We act for employers in all types of cases – from simple wages claims or misconduct dismissals, to complex whistleblowing and discrimination cases, and multi-claimant litigation arising from TUPE transfers or equal pay claims.

All of our lawyers also have a great track record in securing successful results for employee clients, usually in complex and high-value claims.

Your case will always be handled by a lawyer who specialises exclusively in employment law, has in excess of 15 years’ experience, and who will deal with you directly throughout the matter. We consider the quality of our work and service standards to be more than equal to that of well-known commercial firms, whether in Bristol or in London. We provide a seamless and cost-effective one-stop service in even the most technical of cases.

Our fees reflect the high standards that we hold ourselves to, and our agile small-scale set-up – which makes us significantly more cost-effective than our better-known competitors. To find out more about our team, take a look at our individual biographies.

Employment tribunal cases inevitably lead to disruption and stress. We aim to keep this to a minimum for our clients by supporting them throughout the process with regular communication and detailed updates, as well as a frank assessment of the likelihood of success.

In order to provide some up-front certainty in respect of costs, we have set out below a range of costs which you would be likely to incur in unfair and/or wrongful dismissal cases. It is worth remembering that many cases settle well before a full hearing. In such circumstances, only a proportion of the full cost would be incurred (depending on how advanced the litigation was at the point of settlement). Please note that discrimination claims are not covered by this section.

Employment law meeting

Pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal

  • Simple case: £12,500 – £17,500 +VAT

  • Medium complexity case: £17,500 – £27,500 +VAT

  • High complexity case: £27,500 or more +VAT

The above pricing is based on a standard fee rate of £330 per hour +VAT. Some of our clients, for example those who take out an annual retainer, will be charged at a lower rate and so will pay less to defend a claim that takes the same number of hours.

Factors that could make a case more complex include:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim

  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person

  • Making or defending a costs application

  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled, or ‘out of time’ issues (if this is not agreed by the parties)

  • Cases involving the examination of matters which took place over a lengthy period of time

  • A large number of witnesses and documents

  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if it is alleged that the employee was dismissed as a result of whistleblowing

  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

At the outset, we will tell you whether the claim is considered to be simple, medium-complexity or high-complexity, although this could change throughout the matter. We will also give you a detailed estimate in order to provide you with more certainty in relation to the costs of the claim.

There will be an additional charge of £1,980 per day +VAT if the solicitor handling the matter attends a Tribunal Hearing. In most cases this will be optional.

Generally, unfair dismissal/wrongful dismissal claims will have a Tribunal Hearing of 1 to 5 days, depending on the complexity of your case.

These costs do not include the cost of a barrister conducting the advocacy on your behalf at the Tribunal (further details of this are in Disbursements, below). In addition, in some cases where the employee is successful, a separate remedies hearing (where compensation is decided) may be necessary. This would usually be a 1-day hearing and, with preparation, would cost in the region of £2,500 – £5,000 +VAT, plus barrister’s fees.

Catherine Mitchell sharing employment law insights

Fees for advocacy and disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties (such as barrister’s fees). We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process, and we have the advantage of strong relationships with several sets of barrister chambers. We would then recommend a barrister with appropriate experience, and negotiate the most favourable rate possible.

Indicative barrister’s fees for a simple wrongful or unfair dismissal claim are set out below:

Barrister 2 – 4 years’ call Barrister 10 – 15 years’ call
2-day simple wrongful dismissal/unfair dismissal hearing £2,000 – £3,000 +VAT £4,500 – £9,000 +VAT
4-day wrongful dismissal/unfair dismissal hearing £4,000 – £7,000 +VAT £9,000 – £16,000 +VAT

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)
  • Preparing claim or response

  • Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party

  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process

  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss

  • Preparing and/or responding to a request for further and better particulars of the claim/response

  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing by telephone to set directions for the management of the case

  • Exchanging relevant documents with the other party 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 party’s witness statements
  • Drafting/agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list

  • Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to the barrister

The stages set out above are an indication, and if some of the stages 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 around your individual needs.

Clients reviewing the outcome of an employment law issue

How long your matter will take

The time that it takes from your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved.

At an early stage, we will provide you with an estimate, based on the specifics of your case, as to how long your matter is likely to take to reach a conclusion (if there is no settlement reached in advance of the hearing). As a rough guide, however, most employment tribunal proceedings take between 6 and 12 months from the point of the claim being issued to a final judgment.

It is worth being aware that the tribunal system is currently very stretched due to a significant upturn in claims following the abolition of tribunal fees. This is causing postponements and delays, which mean that a higher number of cases are taking longer to reach a conclusion than we would normally expect to be the case. We hope that this situation will improve over coming months.

Employment lawyer shaking hands with businessman

Read on to find out more about why people choose Mitchell Law. Or, to discuss your situation and how our team can help, simply get in touch.


“Catherine provided an outstanding service, helping me manage a difficult process with ease. Smart advice, massively responsive and always into the detail.”

Andy D, Senior Data & Analytics Executive