In a redundancy situation or as a result of a dispute, an employer and employee quite often reach agreement that the employee will cease employment in return for a sum of money and other conditions. If you have you been asked to sign a Settlement Agreement you will need independent legal advice as to the proposed terms and conditions.
• We will check that these are fair and in appropriate cases negotiate better terms for you, e.g. the amount of money to be paid or restrictions on your future employment.
• To be properly binding and effective, a Settlement Agreement has to be signed by the solicitor who has advised the employee about the Agreement.
• We will liaise with the employer and employee until conclusion of this matter and ensure that the both parties have received all that is due to them under the terms of the Settlement Agreement.
The employer normally pays an agreed fee to a solicitor to explain and sign the Settlement Agreement which means that often you pay no fee to us for this service. We are completely independent from the employer and it is the employee’s choice as to which independent solicitor they ask to advise them on this matter.
In certain situations, the matter may require more negotiation between the employer and the employee and in that situation any excess fee (which has been calculated on a “time and line” basis at an hourly charging rate of £180 (plus VAT charged at the rate of 20%) will be payable by the employee.
Unfortunately not all disputes between an employer and employee can be resolved amicably, leaving the only option for an employee being to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal. We can advise you as to whether or not you have a case worth pursuing, along with its likely value and prospect of success. If you wish to proceed we will prepare your application and deal with all steps up to conclusion of the matter on your behalf. Typical claims may be for: unpaid wages, holiday or notice pay; disability, race or sex discrimination; unfair dismissal.
Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal depend on the complexity of the case. The price range for dealing with various cases are as follows:
• Simple case: £6,000 - £8,000 (plus VAT charged at the rate of 20%)
• Medium complexity case: £8,000-£16,000 (plus VAT charged at the rate of 20%)
• High complexity case: £16,000-£25,000 (plus VAT charged at the rate of 20%)
Factors that could make a case more complex and increase the costs:
• 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 (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
• The number of days a Final Hearing is listed for. This will be known early on in the case so a more accurate costs estimate can be given.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as medical experts and Counsel. We will handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. We will however require you to pay these outlays to us within 7 days of request being made. These outlays will then be shown on your fee note as an outlay.
Andrew Grey handles the majority of advocacy himself. However, Counsel are sometimes required. Counsel's fees are estimated between £1,000 - £1,500 per day (depending on experience of the Advocate) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation).
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 ACAS pre-claim early conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached
• 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 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
• Preparing 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 Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel if Counsel are used.
The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. A large part of the costs in a case are incurred at the in the final stages of preparation for and attendance at the Final Hearing. If a case settles at an early stage, the costs will be significantly less than the ranges given above.
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 ACAS early conciliation, your case is likely to take 4-12 weeks depending on how early you instruct us. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 9 – 12 months. 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.
Our firm does not currently offer legal aid for these types of matters.