Employment Litigation - Pricing
At Constantine Law we offer “Tier 1 service at tier 2 prices” – by eliminating many of the fixed costs of “big law.” We field expert Employment Tribunal practitioners who have years of experience in the Employment Tribunal, appellate courts and High Court.
Under the December 2018 SRA transparency rules, all solicitors are encouraged to provide information to consumers about pricing in Employment Tribunal cases and Constantine Law’s summary position is below.
Our Range of Prices
The typical range of prices charged per hour for an average Employment Tribunal case are:
• Partners: £325 - £375 + VAT
• Senior Associates: £225 - £275 + VAT
• Paralegals: £125 - £175 + VAT
Note: these are our standard rates (and they are lower than competitor firms) but we reserve the right to vary these rates from matter to matter depending on the facts of a particular case, the likely time-frame and the client’s contractual agreement with Constantine Law. Our agreed rates are set out in our agreed Terms of Business with each client. Our rates, together with the overall cost of any case, will depend on the complexity of any case and whether it falls into a Low or Medium or High complexity case.
Some cases may be covered by legal expenses insurance, in which case our solicitors will work to agreed (insurance) rates but they reserve the right to recover the difference between the insurance rate and the agreed client rate, with the relevant client.
Examples of factors that impact on the pricing of a case:
• 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); or the identity of a comparator (in discrimination claims); or what amounts to “protected disclosures” in (whistleblowing cases).
• A vexatious (or overly litigious) approach taken by the other side.
• The number of witnesses and documents (and the availability of documents, including whether orders for disclosure are necessary).
• If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. whistle-blowing claims.
• Allegations of discrimination or whistleblowing which are linked to the dismissal and/or the identification of other detriments.
• The duration of a case, including whether a Claimant wants to abandon a case early because he or she has found another job.
• The length of the final hearing.
There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing (at a rate agreed with either a barrister and/or partner at Constantine Law).
The Key stages of an Employment Tribunal claim
Note: given the number of variables in any given Employment Tribunal claim, we do not believe that it is practicable to state the “total cost of the service” with any degree of accuracy. We believe that it is fairer, and more helpful to clients, to break down the likely costs of each constituent element of a typical Employment Tribunal claim. We have done this below.
*The Average costs listed above are indicative costs by way of guidance to potential clients of Constantine Law and are exclusive of VAT. Each line item will be subject to our agreed Terms of Business with each client and may change on the level of complexity and duration of each case. Factors which impact on the pricing of a case are set out above. Note: not each line item may be necessary in each claim.
The stages set out above are an indication of the likely steps in a concluded Employment Tribunal case. Constantine Law does not carry out fixed fee (i.e. total fee) Employment Tribunal work.
Note: the particular steps required in each case will be notified to the client of Constantine Law in their case. Certain clients may wish to handle the case themselves and to only receive our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on a case-by-case basis.
Disbursements are costs related to a client’s matter that are payable to third parties. Constantine Law will ensure that disbursements are paid on behalf of each client, and in respect of a client matter, once Constantine Law’s relevant invoice has been settled by the client.
The precise amount of a disbursement on a client invoice (to include typically: counsel’s fees, travel and photocopying) will differ from case to case. (In certain cases, it may be necessary to incur experts’ fees). In the case of counsel’s fees, this will be calculated at an agreed daily rate and may include a “brief fee” for preparation time (and rates are dependent on the experience of the advocate) for attending a Tribunal Hearing. A typical barrister’s fee will be from £500-£1,500 + VAT, per day.
Constantine Law is able to field experienced Employment Tribunal advocates (and is therefore able to internalise many of these costs), particularly Matthew Brain.
How long will a typical case take?
The time that it takes from taking a client’s initial instructions to the final resolution of a matter depends largely on the stage at which the case is resolved. The answer to the question above depends on a variety of factors including:
• If a settlement is reached (by way of a Settlement Agreement or ACAS COT3 Agreement) shortly after the termination of employment.
• If a settlement is reached during the ACAS (typically 28 day) pre-claim conciliation process.
• If the employee/Claimant finds another job, during the course of a case.
• The availability/capacity of employment tribunals (and employment tribunal judges) – at the time of writing, we are finding some considerable delays in the length of cases due to last-minute cancellations of hearings caused by “the cuts.”
Cases can take anything from 6 months - 18 months (or beyond). Clients will be advised as to the likely time frame of each case by their solicitor.
Conditional Fee Agreements (“CFAs”) and Damages-Based Agreements (“DBAs”):
Constantine Law has acted for clients under DBAs where the merits (and value) of their case justifies this arrangement. Again, we will agree the particular scope of the DBA in a carefully drafted Terms of Business Letter, to the client. These Terms of Business will set out the percentage success fee together with any fees (for example, adverse cost rulings) for which the client may be responsible.
Constantine Law does not have a client account and thus is not able to “fund” litigation and therefore cases undertaken on the basis of a DBA are the exception, not the norm. The fact that Constantine Law does not have a client account means that (unlike most firms) the damages payment will be made direct to our clients (as opposed to a client account maintained by a law firm).
Final Note: the prices (and rates) above are correct as at December 2018 and are subject to change, over time.