DismissalPrice and service information – employment

Williamsons regularly handle employment tribunal proceedings most often dealing with allegations of unfair dismissal and breach of contract.

We act for employees and employers – though not in the same case, of course! The majority of our cases are for employees claiming compensation but, just as a poacher makes the best gamekeeper, we are well experienced in defending claims on behalf of employers.


Prices will vary according to what needs to be done, how much time we need to spend on it and who needs to do that work, from our most experienced lawyers to junior assistants.

Every case is different and that has a direct impact on how much it will cost to pursue, to defend or to settle. Examples of relevant factors are:

  •       Whether the parties disagree about what happened and what was said
  •       How many witnesses may need to be called to establish the truth
  •       Whether the parties agree on the application of the relevant legal principles
  •       What each side says about value, including loss of earnings, new employment etc.

An employee’s claim for unfair dismissal may be reasonably clear-cut and very likely to succeed but not worth a substantial amount because they were only employed for two or three years on a modest salary and have quickly found another job paying as much or more. The loss will be limited.

Both sides, if properly advised, should know that it is not worth pursuing it to a contested hearing and incurring costs that are more than the value of the claim. It is likely to settle at an early stage and the costs on each side might be on average in a range of £400 to £800 excluding VAT.

At the other end of the scale, a claim may be very complex and difficult but potentially very valuable. A claimant will want to try hard to progress it. A respondent will want to attack every argument and probably look for a negotiated outcome that buys off the risk at a reasonable discount.

A simple case that proceeds all the way to a hearing lasting up to one day is likely to cost between £5,000 and £10,000 excluding VAT depending on the extent of cooperation between the parties and the time spent in preparing for the hearing.

A more complex case with disagreements about procedure and preparation on the way to a hearing of two days or more is likely to cost £15,000 to £25,000 excluding VAT.

We can always give you broad estimates on the basis of information available at the start of a case though the picture may change as matters progress and we’ll update you and try to forecast the costs of various stages according to what work may need to be done and who needs to do it.

Personnel and hourly rates

Our estimates take into account the hourly rates at which the time spent on the case by various personnel will be charged. Typically the work may be spread between the following:

  •       Director/senior solicitor - £225
  •       Graduate legal executive/assistant solicitor - £150
  •       Trainee solicitor/paralegal - £120


Timescale depends on the same factors as the overall cost. If a claim is settled quickly, it may be over in days or a couple of weeks. If it is to proceed all the way to tribunal then it may take 6-9 months or more.

In between those extremes there are likely to be opportunities to bring the matter to a conclusion if both sides are prepared to compromise.