team member reading documents


No two employment law cases are ever the same and so the advice that follows can only ever be a guide to the sort of cost that might be involved in taking a case to a tribunal hearing. Our fee earners work on hourly rates. We do not normally work on a no-win, no-fee basis or on a contingent fee basis unless there are very special circumstances.

Our hourly rates are as follows:

Hamish Cameron Blackie (34 years’ experience as an employment litigation lawyer) – £330 plus VAT or £396

Andrea Tishler (22 years’ experience as an employment litigation lawyer) – £325 plus VAT or £390

Ashley Holden (33 years’ experience as an employment litigation lawyer) – £295 plus VAT or £354

We are all experienced advocates.

In short cases, where it is cost effective to do so, we may not instruct barristers to appear for a final hearing.  We only routinely instruct barristers to advise at the outset in cases where it is anticipated that a barrister will be required because of the complexity of the case or the novelty of a point raised on the facts.  Experience shows that in large cases it is cost effective to have one barrister closely involved from the outset.

Additional support may be given by trainee solicitors at an hourly rate of £160 plus VAT (£192).  The identity of the trainee will change from time to time.

In cases where you want to instruct a specialist barrister for advice and representation at trial then there will be an additional cost for that barrister.  There is a huge range of costs for barristers from the very newly qualified who will charge out at less than £100 per hour plus VAT to very experienced barristers (called QC’s) who will charge at hourly rates in excess of £650 per hour plus VAT.  We will advise you at the time if it is cost effective, or sensible to instruct a barrister and match your case to the most appropriate barrister.

For a hearing before the employment tribunal involving a simple case of unfair dismissal lasting no more than one day, with just one witness for the employer and one witness for the employee and a simple bundle of relevant documents of no more than 50 pages then we would anticipate a range of cost of between £4,000 and £6,000 plus VAT or £4,800 to £7,200.

Factors which will cause this figure to increase will include whether:

  • your case involves a novel or complicated point of law;
  • a large number of documents need to be considered;
  • it is alleged that the other side is being untruthful in its account of events giving rise to the dismissal;
  • the other side is unrepresented.

Large and complicated cases will cost very considerably more.  A 10 day case involving a solicitor and a barrister and volumes of papers will cost in excess of £150,000 plus VAT or £180,000.

Obviously, there is a range of possible cases between these two examples.    Cases can be more expensive still.   We can only give you sensible advice about the likely cost of proceedings once we have spoken to you about the particular facts of your case.   We will always try to make an assessment of the likely cost of proceedings at the very outset.


Giving any estimate on time scales of work in the Employment Tribunal at present is very difficult.  We have recent experience of one case in the Employment Tribunal where a claim presented to the Tribunal in January had not even been processed and served by the Tribunal on the respondent by November, another case where proceedings presented to the Tribunal in November 2017 were only listed for trial in December 2019.

COVID-19 has made the delays in the system worse still.   There is a large backlog in cases getting to a hearing, and it is simply not possible to give any reliable estimate as to how long a case will take to get to a trial.   There are terrific differences between individual tribunals, some being much slower than others.   If and when the system gets back to its performance levels of 5 years ago, then expect a simple case, one involving one or two witnesses for each side which is completed in one day, to take around 6-9 months to progress from the issue of proceedings to the hearing of a full trial.


This page was last updated on 1 September 2020