Vardags has decades of experience working on high value employment disputes, obtaining results both in and out of court/Tribunal for individuals and companies.
We provide a Director-led service which is specifically tailored to your circumstances and needs.
We specialise in handling complex and high-value employment issues and claims on behalf of or involving directors, shareholders, executives, senior management and employees. Many of the cases we are instructed in might involve BOTH High Court litigation and Employment Tribunal, for example concerning issues of shareholder prejudice. We also have considerable experience in acting in serious cases of sexual or other harassment as well as discrimination cases and cases involving whistle-blowing.
We support and guide corporations and other employers through business reorganisations including transfer of undertakings, redundancies and mergers. We aim to keep our clients out of the courts but where this is not possible we provide representation in the High Court and Employment Tribunals.
Members of the team
The team is also assisted by trainee solicitors who normally spend 3-6 months in the employment department as part of their general training.
In the event that your employment matter becomes contentious, the scope of our work will normally include the following:
Costs and charges
Many cases are resolved through negotiation and agreement and Frank Ryan has successfully mediated many claims. The possibility remains that a matter may have to be taken to a final hearing. Costs are not normally awarded for or against parties in Employment Tribunal proceedings and therefore there needs to be careful assessment of the net returns a claimant may recover.
Subject to our standard terms and conditions of business, our legal fees are calculated by reference, among other things, to the total amount of time spent on a case. Charges are made for telephone calls, outgoing letters and emails, consideration of documentation addressing tactics and case planning, meetings and general preparation and pursuit of a claim.
Partners - £450 per hour.
Consultant - £450 per hour.
Trainee solicitors - £205-245 per hour.
The above legal fee charges will be subject to VAT at the current rate of 20% (where applicable) and also subject to modification on 1st April annually.
We will be in a position to provide an estimate of overall costs once we have sufficient information to do so. The amount of work involved in each case will depend upon the facts and issues, the level of support required by the client and the agreed strategy.
Illustrative range of fees
As a general guide, the overall costs of bringing or defending claims for wrongful or unfair dismissal are as follows, excluding barristers' fees and any expert witness fees:
The overall costs of a case may be higher or lower than the range of figures given above. A variety of factors has to be taken into account including:
Cases can be made more complicated by, for example:
Disbursements and Barristers' fees
Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
There are no Employment Tribunal fees at present although there are Court fees, should action have to be brought in the civil courts as well.
Barristers' fees depend upon the level of experience (or “call”) of the barrister appointed. We will seek to agree fees with the barrister’s Clerk and with you before they are incurred but third party expenses (barristers' fees and experts' fees for independent medical evidence or material related to employment prospects or to engage in private or judicial mediation) will have to be provided for by the client in advance of liability for the fees being incurred.
A junior barrister of between 2 and 10 years’ call appearing at a preliminary hearing of up to 2 hours might charge fees in the range of £750 to £2,000 plus VAT.
A final hearing may take between 3 and 10 days depending on the complexity of the issues and number of witnesses called. A senior barrister of 15 years’ call (a “senior junior”) at a 3 day final hearing might charge a brief fee for trial preparation and day one of the trial of £7,500 - £10,000, with additional refresher fees for days two and three of the trial of £2,500 to £3,000, again plus VAT. A senior barrister of 15 years’ call at a 10 day final hearing might charge a brief fee for trial preparation and day one of the trial of £25,000 to £30,000, with additional refresher fees of £2,500 to £3,000 for subsequent days, again plus VAT.
More junior Counsel engaged for a 3 day final hearing might charge a brief fee of £3,500 to £6,000 with additional refresher fees of £1,000 to £2,000 for subsequent days, again plus VAT. More junior Counsel engaged for a 10 day final hearing might charge a brief fee of £10,000 to £20,000 with additional refresher fees of £1,000 to £2,000 for subsequent days, again plus VAT.
If the instruction of an expert is required to provide evidence in any particular field(s), a fee would be payable for their time. Experts’ fees largely depend upon the nature of their instruction and the facts of the case, it is therefore difficult to estimate these at the outset.
If it appears that mediation or adjudication may assist in resolving your matter, a fee would be payable for the mediator’s / adjudicator’s time if both parties agree to the mediation / adjudication. These fees are usually in the region of around £1,000 - £1,500 + VAT for half a day, and £2,000 - £3,500 + VAT for a full day. However, these fees can be higher. These fees are normally split between both parties. You must also bear in mind that it is sometimes possible that a barrister might need to attend a mediation / adjudication in particularly complex cases or where your opponents are insisting on Counsel attending (although we frequently attend mediations without Counsel). Their fees could range from £1,000 up to £7,500 plus VAT, depending on their level of call.
VAT if applicable would be charged at the current rate of 20%.
In appropriate cases only when acting for a claimant, we might be prepared to consider acting on a Damages Based Agreement, details of which can be supplied by us in cases that we consider appropriate.
The time taken by the process
The length of time required to complete an employment claim is dependent upon whether the matter is resolved by agreement or it proceeds to a hearing. Negotiations for settlement can take place at any time and we advocate the use of private mediation in appropriate cases.
The time limit for bringing claims is normally 3 months from the date of the dismissal or the other act which forms the basis of a claim, plus one month to 6 weeks for Early Conciliation. Early Conciliation must be started within 3 months and must involve any relevant potential Respondent(s).
If a case is not settled through Early Conciliation or negotiation, the Employment Tribunal process is likely to take between 6 to 12 months to complete. 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.
The timeframe in which your matter is concluded will also depend upon the timeliness of responses from the Employment Tribunal which can be affected by their capacity at any given time.
If proceedings are not necessary, many employment disputes can be resolved quickly, sometimes in a matter of a few weeks or a couple of months.