We offer free specialist employment law advice to the residents of Derbyshire, and in some circumstances those living in surrounding areas as well. The level of assistance we can provide depends on where you live.
Please note that free advice is limited, and our funding does not always cover a full tribunal representation service. However we can assist in taking claims to Employment Tribunal at competitive rates, including no win no fee. Sample charges are given below.
From 1 September 2019 we will have a Legal Aid contract in discrimination and so if you need advice or assistance on a discrimination issue and you are eligible for legal aid we may be able to help you free of charge.
If you have legal expenses insurance you may be able to make a claim and cover our costs that way. Click Play to see a short video explaining how.
Our team have over 30 years' specialist experience of employment law.
For more details or to discuss your case, contact us by clicking the button at the bottom of the page.
What to do Next
Employment Tribunal Fees
In July 2017 a decision of the Supreme Court abolished Employment Tribunal fees. This means that anyone taking a claim to the Employment Tribunal no longer needs to pay a fee.
Fees which have been paid either to issue a claim, or for a hearing, will be refunded by the government. Information about claiming a refund, and the forms to complete, can be found here, on the gov.uk website.
These pages on our website help people taking claims to the Employment Tribunal without professional advice or representation. Click here to access this information.
Is there a charge?
- We are the only legal charity that provides free specialist employment advice in Derbyshire, but our funding for free advice is restricted. If we are not able to help you free of charge we can often assist on a charged basis.
- Free telephone advice on our helpline.
- When we advise you on our helpline, if we consider it beneficial, and depending upon the circumstances of your case, we may offer you a follow-up meeting at which we can spend an hour discussing your case and following up with advice in writing.
- In some exceptional circumstances we can carry out up to 6 hours casework free of charge.
Our charges are low compared with conventional solicitors’ practices and we have a high level of expertise in employment law. We offer competitive, affordable rates to individuals. All our charges are based on an hourly rate of £105.00 PLUS VAT. Full details of our charges can be found below.
If you have legal expenses insurance, you may be able to nominate us as your legal representatives and we will be paid directly by the insurance company for any work carried out. Please contact us for further information if you wish to do this.
What to do Next
Contact us on 01246 550674 or on Freephone 0800 707 6990.
Our Charging Structure For Employment Cases
We are a registered charity and not for profit organisation and as such our fees are generally lower than the fees you would pay elsewhere. All our costs are based on an hourly rate of £105 + VAT (ie £126 including VAT).
Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal
Simple case: £2700 - £3500 (excluding VAT). This fee level would usually apply to a straightforward claim for wrongful dismissal (ie failure to pay notice pay).
Medium complexity case: £3500 - £5400 (excluding VAT). This fee level would usually apply to a straightforward claim for unfair dismissal, or a more complex claim for wrongful dismissal (eg including questions of dismissal procedure and more complex contractual obligations)
High complexity case: £5400 - £8700 (excluding VAT). This fee level would usually apply to a complex claim of unfair dismissal, or a high-value wrongful dismissal claim. It could be expected to include some of the factors listed below which make a claim more complex and therefore more time-consuming.
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
- 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 if there is uncertainty about employment status
- The number of witnesses and documents
- If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of £850 per day (excluding VAT). Generally, we would allow 1-8 days depending on the complexity of your case.
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. To ask a Barrister for an initial opinion on the merits of a claim could cost £200 - £600 (excluding VAT), depending on the experience of the advocate and the complexity of the case. For instance, it will cost more if there are a lot of documents to read. If a Barrister represents you at a Tribunal Hearning, their fees are estimated at between £600 and £2000 (excluding VAT) per day (depending on experience of the advocate) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation).
Stages of a claim
The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim. The list below sets out the stages. The fixed fees listed are an alternative to paying us on the basis of an hourly rate. Further details of the arrangements for fixed fees are given below.
- 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). Fixed fee: £210 to £525 (excluding VAT)
- Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached.
- Preparing claim. Fixed fee: £210 to £525 (excluding VAT). This is our fee for preparing a claim once instructions have been taken. If we have not already taken initial instructions, there will be an additional fee, as outlined above.
- Reviewing and advising on response from employer. Fixed fee: £105 to £315 (excluding VAT). Again, this fixed fee assumes initial instructions have been taken. If we have not already taken initial instructions, there will be an additional fee, as outlined above.
- Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
- Preparing a schedule of loss. Fixed fee: £75 to £315 (excluding VAT). If we have not already taken initial instructions, there will be an additional fee, as outlined above.
- Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing. Fixed fee: £210 to £525 (excluding VAT), plus travel time if the hearing is ‘in person’. If we have not already taken initial instructions, there will be an additional fee, as outlined above.
- Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents. Fixed fee: £210 - £525 (excluding VAT). If we have not already taken initial instructions, there will be an additional fee, as outlined above.
- Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses. Fixed fee: £525 - £1575 (excluding VAT) depending on the number of witnesses and complexity of the case. If we have not already taken initial instructions, there will be an additional fee, as outlined above.
- Preparing a bundle of documents. Fixed fee: £315 - £630 (excluding VAT). If we have not already taken initial instructions, there will be an additional fee, as outlined above. If we have already exchanged documents with the other party, and agreed the bundle, this figure will be reduced to £210 - £525 (excluding VAT).
- Reviewing and advising on the other party's witness statements. Fixed fee: £210 to £630 (excluding VAT), depending on the number of witnesses and complexity of the case. Again, this fixed fee assumes initial instructions have been taken. If we have not already taken initial instructions, there will be an additional fee, as outlined above.
- Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list. This is only necessary in more complex cases. Fixed fee: £315 - £630. If we have not already taken initial instructions, there will be an additional fee, as outlined above.
- Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel if you are represented by a Barrister at the Final Hearing. Fixed fee: £525 - £1260 (excluding VAT) for preparation plus £850 per day attendance at the Employment Tribunal if we represent you at the Final Hearing.
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 according to your individual needs.
We can offer a fixed fee for some stages of work, as shown above. The level of fee will depend upon the complexity of your case. Where fixed fees are available, the illustrations above give an indication of likely costs, the lower amount being the fixed fee for a straightforward wrongful dismissal claim, and the upper amount being the fee for the most complex kind of unfair dismissal case, as outlined above. An average, medium complexity case would attract a fixed fee half way between the 2 figures. As every case is different, and in order to tailor our service to your requirements, we will always quote you a precise figure if you ask us to undertake work for a fixed fee, and will not start work until you have agreed the figure.
Very occasionally we may be able to offer a damages-based agreement. As the name suggests, this is where you agree to pay us a percentage of any sum paid to you as a result of settling or winning your case. The amount paid to us will not exceed 25% plus VAT (30% including VAT), plus any disbursements incurred during your case.
Legal Expenses Insurance
If you have legal expenses insurance, you may be able to nominate us as your legal representatives and we will be paid directly by the insurance company for any carried out. Please contact us for further information if you wish to do this.
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 3-6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 9-12 months. 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.
Who will work on my case?
We currently have two experienced caseworkers in the employment team. Andrew Montgomery is a legal executive, and has 17 years’ experience of employment casework. Ellen Taylor has 15 years’ experience of taking employment cases. Each caseworker supervises the other on a day to day basis, with overall supervision from Tony McIlveen, our senior solicitor. From time to time, a trainee solicitor or paralegal may work on your case. They will have been fully trained to undertake this work, and will be supervised by members of the team.