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Employment Tribunal Fees

Bringing or Defending Claims for Unfair/Wrongful Dismissal

Every employment tribunal case is different which is why we can only offer an estimate of costs based on our many years of experience. The estimates below show the likely fees you would need to pay to Cartwright King to reach the conclusion of a full hearing at an employment tribunal. (Barristers’ or advocates’ fees to represent you in the hearing itself are extra and set out under the Disbursements section). 

In reality, the majority of cases settle for an agreed financial sum at some stage before the hearing. One of our professional skills is to continually monitor the financial value of the claim, the likelihood of it succeeding and whether it would be in the best interests of you or your business to settle. If you have insurance your insurers may cover some or all of our legal fees and disbursements.

  • Simple case: £5,000 - £8,000 (plus VAT)
  • Medium complexity case: £6,000 - £10,000 (plus VAT)
  • High complexity case: £10,000 to £15,000 (plus VAT)

Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • 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; that is people who are not legally represented. Defending these types of claims are nearly always more time consuming because the litigant in person is unfamiliar with legal processes and issues.
  • Making or defending a costs application.
  • Complex preliminary issues such as time limits or whether the claimant is/was an employee.
  • The number of witnesses and documents in the claim.

These fee estimates do not apply to cases involving discrimination or whistle-blowing. These cases tend to be more expensive because the extra legal complexities involved require more work and longer hearings. Estimates for these types of claims can be provided once we have assessed your claim in more detail.

Generally, unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal claims can be heard in 1 to 3 days.


Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. This can include barrister’s (also know as counsel) fees, the cost of medical reports, travel expenses to the tribunal hearing and court fees in the county court or the high court. There are currently no fees to pay in the employment tribunal. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Counsel's fees to represent you at a hearing and cross examine your opponent on your behalf typically comprise a one off “brief fee” of around £1,000 to £2,500 plus VAT (depending on length of case) plus a fee for each day in court of between £750 and £1,200 plus VAT per day. Counsel’s fees also depend on the level of their experience. Brief fees usually need to be paid a few weeks in advance of the hearing. This means if you settle the claim prior to this you do not need to pay the brief fee.

Counsel’s fees to write a document setting out their legal “Advice” on the merits and value of a claim or defence range between £750 and £2,500 plus VAT, again depending on level of experience. In many cases these “Advices” will not be necessary as your Cartwright King Solicitor will be qualified to provide advice on your claims as part of their fee.

Advices are only usually required in particularly complex or novel claims.

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)
  • Entering into pre-claim 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 T

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

How long will my matter take?

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 conciliation, your case is likely to take 2 to 6 weeks.

Once a claim is submitted to the tribunal the employer should receive a copy of the claim form from the Tribunal Service within a few days. An employer then has 28 days to submit its response. However, there is currently a backlog at many Tribunal centres which means they are taking weeks to process claims.

If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take up to 9 months. Again this length of time is due to the demand within in the Tribunal system. We will, of course, be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

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