Effective Advice for Businesses and Employees
Christopher Waters who founded Mortimers and is the company director, is a member of the Employment Law Association and is available to act on behalf of both employers and employees. He conducts a wide variety of cases both in and outside the Employment Tribunal.
Mortimers are happy to meet with clients by telephone, online, in the office or at another venue suitable for you.
We may be able to offer a no obligation 60 minute consultation for a fee of £120.00 including VAT for certain employment matters. If you are interested, please contact us to arrange an appointment.
We specialise in the following fields:
A Settlement Agreement is a legally binding agreement setting out the terms of the termination of your employment in which you effectively sign away your right to bring an employment tribunal claim in exchange for an agreed payment from your employer.
If you have been given a settlement agreement by your employer we can review this agreement with you, explaining each section in plain English. We can help to make sure that you are receiving the best deal, explaining this to you and advising you what your options are.
Our fee for this work is normally paid by your employer.
We are pleased to have an initial free discussion with you by telephone or to respond to an initial email enquiry.
However, if you need more advice, if your matter is complex or we need to look at documents related to your matter, we may be able to offer a no obligation 60 minute consultation for a fee of £120.00 including VAT for certain employment matters.
There is no legal aid for employment law, so we are only able to act for clients who are able and willing to pay for advice. We may require a payment on account from you before commencing work.
Estimate of Costs
We will do our best to give you an accurate estimate of the costs you may incur, both at the time that you first instruct Mortimers and at appropriate intervals whilst we work for you.
We have provided example costs for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal below, to help you understand our fees.
We act for clients whether they are employees or employers.
Ways of Paying
The way in which the work that we do for you may be funded depends upon the type of case and our agreement with you. The following options are available:
- Payment by hourly rate
- Payment by agreed fee
- Payment by legal expenses insurance
Our current hourly rates are:
- Christopher Waters – £255 (plus VAT)
You may be aware of some providers who offer legal advice for free, or for a small or modest cost. For example, some organisations offer to do pro bono work; this is work done voluntarily and without charge. We do not currently take on pro bono work.
If you are a member of a union, you may be entitled to free legal advice from your union. We will advise you if we think that any of these funding methods are applicable in your case.
Payment on Account
In some cases we will ask you to make payments in advance to cover any anticipated fees or disbursements (i.e. payments made on your behalf). These advance payments are deposited into our Client Account and are governed by rules set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Account Rules.
Legal Expenses Insurance
In some circumstances, clients will have legal expenses insurance, which they can use to fund a claim against their previous employer. This can only be done once the insurers have agreed insurance cover in writing, and it is usual for such cover to become active only after a claim has been issued.
It is unlikely that we will be paid under the insurance scheme for any costs incurred prior to issuing a claim, and therefore our client remains liable for that cost.
Additionally, the insurers would never pay for the time spent by us in communication with them about the nature of the claim and/or any updates which they need. In such circumstances, we will render an invoice to our client in relation to that time. This will be charged at the hourly rate set out above i.e. £255 per hour plus VAT.
We often are asked to advise on Settlement Agreements, which are agreements reached pursuant to Section 203 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, where the parties have reached an agreement about the termination of an employee’s contract of employment. Usually, but not necessarily, the employee will be being paid compensation in exchange for agreeing the termination.
Usually, the employer makes a contribution to the legal costs associated with the provision by this firm of what is known as the independent adviser’s certificate. Those contributions, in our experience, range between £250 and £500 plus VAT for a standard agreement. However, it may be that the agreement is not standard and therefore further additional work is required, which would take the costs over and above the cost contribution provided by the employer. We will always try to get the employer to pay a larger contribution, but it may be that this is not possible and in such circumstances, our client remains liable for any additional costs.
Further, it is important to note that if the Settlement Agreement does not result in agreement, then the employer will not pay the costs contribution which it offers, and any costs will be the responsibility of the Client.
Specific Pieces of Work
We are happy to provide advice and/or to conduct specific pieces of work within an overall claim where we have not confirmed to the Tribunal that we are acting generally. This could be, for example, where a litigant in person is required by the Tribunal to file a Schedule of Loss. We can either draft that Schedule of loss or advise on the schedule as drafted by the individual. For this we would charge at the usual hourly rate.
On occasions, we will need to incur external fees on behalf of our clients. These may be barrister’s fees, expert’s fees, etc. VAT has to be added to most disbursements except court fees. It is difficult to predict barrister’s fees because they will involve an assessment of the particular work necessary in each particular case.
It is, however, quite usual that barristers’ charges are approximately £250 per hour. If we instruct a barrister, we will endeavour to ascertain the potential costs involved before undertaking any work which would incur barrister’s fees. We will contact our clients before incurring fees and obtain their approval.
Employment Tribunal Claims
There are presently no fees charged by the Employment Tribunals to issue claims in the Tribunal. Equally, it is unusual, but not impossible, for there to be a costs order in favour of a winning party or against a losing party.
What is involved
To help you understand the likely fees of a claim at the Employment Tribunal, the following information will give you an indication of our fees for bringing or defending claims for unfair dismissal.
The cost depends on several factors: the complexity of the case, the amount of evidence involved and the legal issues relating to the case. If a claim reaches a final hearing, it will go through several key stages. They are:
- Early conciliation. This is the process by which an attempt is made to resolve a dispute through ACAS, before issuing proceedings.
- Preparation and issue of a claim at an Employment Tribunal.
- Receipt and analysis of the response to the claim.
- Compliance with directions made by the Tribunal. Directions are instructions from the Judge for the proper management of the claim. They include exchange of relevant documents by and preparation of an agreed bundle of documents which will be used by the parties and by the Judge at the final hearing. Preparation and exchange of witness statements setting out the evidence that witnesses will give at the final hearing. Setting a date for the final hearing. Setting a timetable for the final hearing.
- Preliminary Hearings. Depending on the nature of the case, the Tribunal will sometimes set a case management conference to define the issues in the case and to give directions. This is known as a Preliminary Hearing and may take place at the Tribunal or by telephone. Other Preliminary Hearings may be held to determine a specific issue in a case, such as whether there is in fact a case to answer, whether part of a claim or response should be struck out or whether a claim is out of time.
- The Final Hearing. This is like a trial. It is where the evidence is heard and legal arguments are made. A judge will decide the case.
Each case has its own facts, legal issues and evidence. Many cases don’t go through the full process and are either settled or withdrawn before the case reaches the Final Hearing. If that happens, the cost of the case will be less than the guideline estimates below.
Unfair Dismissal Costs
As each case is individual, we are only able to give a guide to our fees in typical cases here.
- Simple cases tend to cost between £5,000 and £6,000.
- Complex cases will cost more. The range is about £8,000 to £10,000, particularly if more than one day is needed at the final hearing.
- Very complicated cases could exceed £10,000. These cases may involve substantial amounts of evidence or complex legal arguments.
These estimates include VAT. There may, however, be disbursements incurred which will increase this figure.
How long will a case take to resolve?
The time that a claim of unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal will take to complete from the preliminary stages through to final hearing depends on several factors; the complexity of the case, which we referred to earlier, but also the state of the Tribunal’s diary. A Final Hearing is fixed by the Tribunal either after the claim has been issued or at a Preliminary Hearing. Our experience tells us that it will be 6 to 10 months before a claim is likely to be concluded at a final hearing in simple cases and 12 to 18 months in more complicated cases.