The Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA’s) Transparency Rules require us to provide transparency about our prices for particular types of work, including:
- bringing and defending claims for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal (ET); and
- recovery of debts up to £100,000.
We provide the information required by the SRA below, and hope that it is helpful.
However, every client’s dispute is different, and the cost of an individual matter will depend on a number of factors, including its complexity, value and length. The information provided below is therefore necessarily only an approximate guide. We have always aimed to provide clients with the best possible information about the cost of our services, and are happy to provide individual cost estimates based on the details of a particular case; please feel free to get in touch for more information.
We charge primarily on a time-cost basis, with the hourly rate for all solicitors being £350 + VAT (with rates reviewed and updated with effect from 1 January each year; VAT is currently chargeable at 20% where applicable).
Each of our solicitors has more than a decade of post-qualification experience (and some have considerably more) and worked in major international firms before joining Bellevue Law. We believe, therefore, that our hourly rates represent excellent value compared to the cost of instructing other solicitors with comparable backgrounds and experience. We recognise that we are not the cheapest option, and nor do we seek to be. Rather, we look to provide high quality advice and service, and value for money, representing a cost-effective alternative to larger firms.
It is possible that another legal service provider’s model may be more appropriate for you, for example if you are eligible for legal aid, have insurance which may cover the cost of bringing a claim or would like to work with a lawyer on a contingency or fixed fee basis.
The costs set out below cover taking initial instructions, advice on the merits of your case, pre-claim conciliation (in ET cases), drafting Tribunal or Court papers, a schedule of loss (in ET cases), preparing for and attending a Preliminary Hearing (in ET cases) or Case Management Conferences (in Court cases), reviewing your documents for exchange with the other side and reviewing their documents, preparing witness statements and reviewing the other side’s witness statements, preparing for and attending the final hearing, correspondence with the other side, exploring settlement and the final hearing of a claim.
As described below, it does not include a number of other matters which might increase the complexity of, and time required to manage, a matter.
Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal
Wrongful dismissal (notice pay)
We would expect a straightforward standalone claim for wrongful dismissal (notice pay), or the defence of such a claim, in the ET to cost approximately £22,500 + VAT (at 20% where applicable) if it does not settle and proceeds to a hearing. This figure includes disbursements (see below) . If the case settles at an earlier stage, of course costs would be lower.
However, in many cases it would not be cost-effective for us to bring such a claim in the ET (and indeed we have not done so to date), as the current cap on compensation for wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal is £25,000. Higher value claims are usually brought in the High Court or County Court, where different procedures, costs and cost recovery rules apply; please contact us to discuss the likely costs of bringing such a claim.
We would expect a straightforward standalone claim for unfair dismissal, or the defence of such a claim, in the ET to cost approximately £35,000-£45,000 + VAT (at 20% where applicable) if it does not settle and proceeds to a hearing. This figure includes disbursements (see below). If the case settles at an earlier stage, of course costs would be lower.
However, we typically act for senior executives who may have complex claims including (in combination with an unfair dismissal claim) claims for discrimination or whistleblowing, and employers defending such claims. Such complexity will add to the time required to represent a client, and the costs of doing so. Please see below for examples of issues which may make a case more costly.
Our pricing for bringing and defending debt recovery claims up to £100,000
We would expect costs for debt recovery claims of up to £100,000 to be in the range of £6,000- £35,000 + VAT (at 20% where applicable). This wide range reflects the fact that the term ‘debt recovery’ covers a range of possibilities from a simple letter of claim or service of a statutory demand (which may be contested or uncontested), to defended County Court proceedings and enforcement of any judgment. This figure includes disbursements (see below), except for Court fees, which will vary with the size of the claim (from £25 to £5,000 to issue claims up to £100,000, and from £25 to £1,090 for hearing fees; no VAT is payable). Claims for recovery of a debt which settle at an early stage will, of course, costs less than equivalent costs which proceed to a hearing.
‘Disbursements’ is the term used to describe costs other than our time costs.
The most significant of these is likely to be the fees of counsel (a barrister who may advise on the merits of a case, draft ET or Court documents on your behalf and represent you at hearings). Counsel’s fees will vary according the size and complexity of the case and seniority of the barrister instructed, but we typically work with barristers charging between £250-500 per hour (+ VAT at 20% where applicable). We might expect barristers fees (included in the estimates provided above) to come to somewhere between £0 and £10,000 (+ VAT at 20% where applicable) for straightforward wrongful dismissal case, somewhere between £0 and £20,000 (+ VAT at 20% where applicable) for a straightforward unfair dismissal claim and somewhere between £0 and £15,000 (+ VAT at 20% where applicable) for a straightforward debt recovery claim.
The term also covers the costs of copying disclosure documents and hearing bundles provided by a specialist legal copying provider charging from 10p per page (plus VAT at 20% where applicable) (although we do not charge for incidental photocopying), significant travel costs (although we do not charge for travel within London), courier charges and the fees of expert witnesses. The above estimates assume that, in a straightforward case, no significant travel costs, courier charges or fees for expert evidence would be incurred. Finally, as described above, in the High Court or County Court (although not currently in the ET) there will be court fees payable at various stages of proceedings, including when a claim is issued.
We will often handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Factors Making A Case More Complex (by way of example only):
- Being required to make or defend applications, including applications to amend claims or responses or to provide further information about an existing claim, costs applications, applications to extend time limits, for deposit orders, to withdraw a claim or strike out a claim or response or for a postponement, adjournment or stay of proceedings
- Defending claims that are brought or defended by litigants in person.
- Complex preliminary issues in the ET such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties).
- The volume and complexity of factual or expert evidence and the number of witnesses and documents on either side.
- If the claim is an automatic unfair dismissal claim in the ET e.g. if the Claimant alleges that she or he was dismissed after blowing the whistle on her or his employer.
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal in the ET.
- Appeals to the Employment Appeal Tribunal or Court of Appeal.
- The respondent’s or defendant’s failure to pay an award, necessitating enforcement action.
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. This may range from a few weeks (if settlement is reached at an early stage) to 12 months or more if your claim proceeds to a final hearing in the ET of Court.
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.
Details of our team, and each solicitor’s experience, are available here.
We are committed to providing a high-quality legal service. If you are not happy about any aspect of our service, we would like to hear about it.