For many people the prospect of making a claim in the Employment Tribunal, or even in Court, is quite daunting. This may be particularly so where your opponent is the employer or manager who caused you to lose your job, or perhaps who bullied or discriminated against you in the past.
On top of that there is the worry of paying for litigation.
This page should give you all the information you need so that you can understand the situation, but remember, if you have a claim our initial discussion with you, will include discussing the way forward. We can also offer a low cost advice and support package if you’re going through the grievance or appeal process, and fixed price case reviews both before and after proceedings have commenced. We know you’ll find our services great value for money, and you won’t find anything to compete with it elsewhere.
There are a number of different options, ranging from “no win no fee” through to just paying a small fixed fee for a limited service or initial advice.
We will advise you carefully so that you choose the option which is best for you.
Costs in the Employment Tribunal
It is important to understand that Employment Tribunals do not order the employer to pay costs to a successful worker unless special circumstances apply. Neither should you ordinarily be ordered to pay costs to your employer, even if you lose (although sometimes, though rarely,
We also offer a low fixed-fee service for claims assessment. For a fee which amounts to less than an hours work for most High Street solicitors we’ll review your case and advise you on whether you have a claim. If we subsequently win the case we’ll deduct the Pre-Claim Review fee from our success fee, so you won’t be out of pocket.
We can even help you if you’ve already started your claim in the Employment Tribunal. For a fixed fee we’ll review your claim and give you advice on drafting, tactics and procedure. And on top of that we’ll give you three months of support as your claim goes on, to maximise your chance of succeeding.
You won’t find any other employment solicitor who offers something of equivalent value for less (and if you think you have found an equivalent alternative product, talk to us as we’d love to know and we’re keen to remain the most competitive claimant employment law practice in the market).
Tribunals will make adverse costs orders, particularly if they consider your claim to have been unarguable). Generally, however, you have some protection, but because you’re unlikely to recover costs from your employer you must be able to make provision for your own legal costs in some other way.
Funding for your Tribunal Claim
These are the main options available to you:
- Legal Expenses Insurance
- No Win No Fee Damages Based Agreement
- Privately paying – agreed hourly rate
- Privately paying – fixed fee
- Third Party Funding
- Advice under the Community Legal Service (Legal Aid – representation not available in England and Wales, apart from some very limited initial advice under Legal Help)
- Trade Union Representation
- Pro Bono Representation (for free)
- Self Representation
- Legal Expenses Insurance
Legal Expenses Insurance
If you or your partner or any adult living in your household has any home contents insurance, car, credit cards, or bank account insurance, then you must check the policy to see if you have access to the cover for legal costs to pay for employment disputes. If you do, the insurance company will pay your legal costs and it should offer you the right to choose any firm of solicitors of your choice. We are regularly instructed by insurance companies to represent our clients. If you think you have cover then you can contact us for help.
No Win No Fee Damages Based Agreement
Damages-based agreements (“DBAs”) are a form of Employment Tribunal contingency fee, or “no win no fee”.
Funding your claim under a DBA is a fairly straightforward process and is used by the vast majority of our clients who do not have the benefit of legal expenses insurance. Many go on to bring successful claims.
If we decide that your case has good prospects of success and you wish to fund your claim under a DBA then we will explain exactly how it works and provide you with all of the prescribed information before you go on to sign it, and if we subsequently win your case any assessment fee is deducted from your success fee so you’ll never be out of pocket.
Basically, a DBA is an agreement for you to pay us a percentage of your compensation or settlement monies in lieu of our costs. The Regulations governing such arrangements set a maximum fee of 35% (including VAT) of the amount which is actually recovered from your opponent.
Additional charges for barrister’s and expert fees and other expenses can also be made. However, one major benefit we can offer you is that in many cases we will not charge you extra for barrister’s fees as we can use our own in-house counsel, a fully qualified barrister, to represent you. Experts’ fees are only needed in a few complex disability-related claims (and the potentially high level of damages in such cases usually merits such expense).
The actual percentage and the additional charges are subject to negotiation between you and us but we will inform you at the outset of the percentage we propose to deduct and the reasons why. Most of our clients agree with our initial offer. We always try to be fair and reasonable, and we’re here to do the best for you.
If your claim does not succeed for some reason then you do not pay us any costs so long as you have complied with the terms of your agreement with us. So if your claim succeeds, in most cases you will usually receive at least 65% of the value of your damages and will not have to pay us or your ex-employer a penny extra, and if your claim fails you will usually not have to pay us anything. The low cost fixed price assessment fee is deducted from the amount payable from the damages at the end.
Privately Paying – Agreed Hourly Rate
In some cases paying for our services on an agreed hourly rate may be the most suitable way of funding your claim. It may be that your claim is of a very high value and you prefer to manage your costs and pay just for the work actually done as your case proceeds rather than on a percentage basis at the end. Alternatively, you may have a claim that is not the strongest but one which you still wish to bring or because you are pursuing a remedy other than compensation.
We will provide you with an estimate of the likely costs at the outset and update you regularly throughout the progress of the case. Using this method you pay for your costs irrespective of the outcome.
Privately Paying – Agreed Fixed Fee
This method of funding your claim is usually offered to our privately paying clients alongside the hourly rate where we can more easily predict the likely costs in advance. The fixed fee will be payable irrespective of whether the case is won or lost but provides our clients with a definite predictable cost from the outset so that they can achieve certainty when budgeting.
It is becoming more popular with those of our clients who have a reasonably strong claim and prefer to try and negotiate a potentially lower costs figure with us than would be recoverable under a successful DBA.
This fixed fee option is also available to those who want a predictable and low cost way to secure support and advice through grievance or appeal procedures. For a low fixed cost (which works out at around £1 per day) we can give you advice on the appropriate grievance or grounds of appeal, assist you in professionally drafting any documents, and generally support you through the process. Although we can’t attend any hearings for you we can make sure you’re fully prepared and know what is likely to happen.
Our duty and promise to you
Understanding what your Claim will cost you is very important. As qualified Solicitors we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and under our Professional Code of Conduct we are required to give you costs information and this includes discussing with you the various options that may be available on how to fund your claim.
When we give you this information about funding your claim we will do so in a way that is clear so that you can understand exactly what options are available and which options may be in your best interests and why. This will help you to make an informed decision about which method of funding to choose. The main funding options are dealt with above and we also explain the four main ways that we are paid in a little more detail.
In summary, we will always aim to give you transparent advice when it comes to funding your claim as we must always act in your best interests.