Employment Costs


At A City Law Firm, we strive to be as transparent as possible in relation to our fees and will offer flexible fee arrangements where we can or stage capped costs. We offer a number of cost options which are discussed in further detail below:

Hourly Rate

The hourly rate of our solicitors varies depending on their level of experience however these will be clearly set out in our Terms of Business before engagement. Senior level will be between £425 and £475 and average range £300-350 with more junior solicitors or paralegal’s assisting between £250-300

We always try to be as fair and accommodating as possible and are happy to discuss what works best with you. This includes giving you the option of making payment by monthly instalments as we fully understand that such cases can be costly.

Fixed Fee

For the majority of our matters or stages of work we offer a fixed fee for our work, which will be given as a quote to you in advance, save for in exceptional circumstances such as in an urgent matter when time is of the essence. This fixed fee will not be varied upwards or downwards, regardless of the actual time spent on the work or the outcome of the case unless instructions or circumstances change and you will be notified immediately in writing. We find that our clients much prefer to have the reassurance and certainty of a fixed fee in order that they know exactly how much they are paying and what it is they are paying for. Whilst we will quote for each piece of work along the way, we ensure that we give our clients an overall estimate of the potential fees involved so that you can budget accordingly.

Capped Fee

This is where we will record our time on an hourly rate basis and account to you on completion of the final sum. However, the capped fee given will be the maximum you will be charged unless this is revised and agreed, with you. If we have recorded less time you will be billed only that sum; if we have exceeded the capped fee you will still only be billed that agreed sum.

No Win No Fee

We can offer a no win no fee option only in certain circumstances. This would typically be in relation to settlement agreement negotiations and/or debt collection work and is based on the sums we recover over and above that already offered. Our fees would be from 15% – 25% plus VAT on the additional sum recovered and this would be assessed on a case by case basis.

Retainer or payment plan Fees

This is offered for commercial clients requiring regular work or those cases that may progress for several months. Here we will assess the work and costs of those works and set a monthly payment plan around this over often a 12 month period (subject to consent) which can be terminated with notice so long as all payments are at that stage brought up to date. The retainer will either be a fixed sum to include all agreed work and advice, or it will simply be interim payments towards a final bill. This will be specifically agreed in the client care letter and explained before engagement.

Employment Work undertaken

Unfair Dismissal

As you will appreciate it is hard to anticipate how much time will be spent on every case as each matter is unique and will often depend on the volume of documents involved, any unforeseen complexities, sums claimed, period of time the problems extended, level of witnesses and whether this progresses to a Tribunal hearing etc. In as much as it is possible to estimate, we would say that your written grievances and appeals largely cost between £1,500 to £2,000 plus VAT and for a draft ET1 (the claim form outlining your case and the nature of the dispute), £3,000 – £5,000 plus VAT in addition to advice in relation to the value of your claim. We tend to allow £1,000 – £2,000 plus VAT for negotiations of settlement running along side the ET1 preparation.

You may then have a settlement agreement or need to prepare for a hearing which needs disclosure; bundle of documents, schedule of loss, witness statements, directions and final hearing as a minimum. You may also need a barrister to attend and represent you at all hearings which is a cost outside of our fees.

We tend to advise our clients to budget for a minimum spend of £6,000 plus VAT in the first instance when you are faced with a possible unfair dismissal claim for initial stages.

Where the case does not settle before tribunal proceedings are issued, we will revisit and consider the funding for your case. Fees to cover the period leading up to the tribunal hearing can cost on average £25,000 plus VAT and disbursements but, depending on the volume of work needed and if it is deemed necessary to instruct a barrister (which could cost on average £2,500 plus VAT daily for the tribunal hearing including all preparation), costs can go up to £60,000.

Wrongful Dismissal

Where wrongful dismissal occurs the claimant has the option of either bringing the claim before the Employment Tribunal or County Court. A tribunal claim will generally have to be brought within three months of the dismissal and can recover maximum damages of £25,000 only. Court proceedings can be issued within six years of the dismissal and bear no such cap on damages. We would ordinarily start with a letter to the employer for £250 – £500 plus VAT which will include a review of documents initially. Thereafter the fees above, under unfair dismissal, would apply for the initial stages.


There are no set timescales for how long an employment cases can take until a hearing as each case turns on its own facts. The duration of a case largely depends on the conduct of both parties; how quickly each party responds, how successful and progressive negotiations have been or whether a settlement offer is made. Cases can be settled at any time and many cases are indeed capable are being settled within a few weeks of being instructed, although it is more common to see cases go on for months. Of course it can also depend on the complexity of each case and potential court/tribunal availability and it is for these many reasons that it would be difficult for us to give a rough estimate as to the timescale for your case.

Qualifications and Experience

In our employment department, we have dealt with a variety of cases ranging from unfair dismissals, wrongful dismissals to disability, race, gender, sexual orientation and age discrimination to redundancies. These are across sectors, claiming anything from £5,000 to £250,000, high powered career employees to manual workers. Employment work for employees can range from 5 – 10% of the firms overall work load. These have ranged from 3 month timeframe to 2 years to finalise.

Our employment senior solicitors have over 20 years of post-qualification experience and a breadth of experience in the employment field who will work closely with you to fight your corner. We understand that funding an employment case can be challenging for some and so, for cost efficiency purposes, our trainee solicitors (who are not qualified) may carry out the mechanics or administrative tasks in relation to your case.