Michael Foster Law Costs (From 1st April 2019)
Michael Foster Law are employment law specialists and we act for both employers and employees in helping to resolve employment concerns and prosecuting or defending claims at the Employment Tribunal. The overall cost of your service will vary according to the complexity and length of your claim, but in general you can expect the following range of costs. All the following costs include VAT.
Our usual charge is £240 per hour/10 units of time for the legal advice we provide. Calls, emails and letters made or received are charged at 1 unit each and perusals, preparation and drafting based on the time that such work involves.
Reviewing large bundles of documents is time consuming and costly so we encourage only essential documentation in preparing a claim.
Fixed Fee Advice
For employees on a low income we offer a one hour fixed fee arrangement of £120. This includes perusal of documentation, discussion with you and the writing of a letter of advice. At this meeting we will assess the value of your claim and the prospects of success.
Conditional Fee Agreements
We do not offer No-Win No-Fee arrangements. However on occasion we may agree to enter into a Conditional Fee agreement with you in which we will charge our administrative costs at one third of our hourly rate i.e. £80 per hour whether you win or lose. If you succeed in your claim we will charge our standard rate but no more than 35% of your award (taking into account the administrative costs you have already paid).
Disbursements are costs related to your matter such as traveling to a Tribunal and, where necessary, charges payable to third parties, such as court fees or Counsel fees. Disbursements must be repaid immediately unless you pay them direct. If we need to instruct Counsel on your behalf we will discuss that with you beforehand and negotiate an agreed fee.
Other Funding Options
If you are a member of a Union you may be able to obtain free legal advice and representation. Unions may not support you if you have engaged a solicitor so it is worth making enquiries with them first. Alternatively you may be covered for legal costs under your home insurance policy – it is always worth checking. Insurers are required to allow you to nominate your own legal representative. However, insurance does not cover work carried out prior to issuing a claim in the Employment Tribunal and we will charge for that work (usually 2 – 3 hours) at our normal rates.
Insurance policies do not usually cover our entire hourly rate and if that is the case, and your claim is successful, we will ask you to pay the difference. If the claim does not succeed you will not need to pay anything beyond the insurer’s contribution.
Alternatively you can ask your insurers to take over the claim once it reaches the stage where a claim is issued.
Our Legal Services
We charge £420 for a simple settlement agreement, the costs of which are usually met by your employer.
More complex settlement agreements will be charged at £600 and again the costs will usually be met by your employer.
If having taken advice from us, you decide not to go ahead with a settlement agreement, you will be charged at our usual hourly rate.
Employment Tribunal Claims
Every claim is different, and many factors (including the response of the other side) contribute to whether it is concluded quickly or takes a longer time. In general however, we would expect to be able to assist you within the following range of costs:
- Simple case (Settlement reached before Tribunal stage) : £600 – £1200
- Medium complexity case (Proceedings issued but settled before hearing) : £2,400 – £3,600
- High complexity case (Proceedings issued and claim involves discrimination or public interest disclosures) £3,600-£9000
If Tribunal representation is required our usual rate is £750 plus VAT (£900) per day (or the fee charged by Counsel if they are acting as your representative). Generally, we would allow 2-3 days depending on the complexity of your case.
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
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.
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
- Making or defending a costs application
- Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
- 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
The time it takes from your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take 8-12 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing your case is likely to take up to a year (due to delays in Tribunal allocations for hearing dates). This is just an estimate however and we will be able to give you a more accurate timescale as the matter progresses. We are always happy to discuss costs with you and to provide you with an interim cost assessment or interim bill to allow you to budget for your claim.
Powers of Attorney
We also offer Powers of Attorney for Property and Finance/ Powers of Attorney for Health and Welfare at a fixed fee rate of £270 for one POA or £360 for both. A registration fee of £82 per POA is also payable to the Office of the Public Guardian.