Fees and Costs
Understandably, one of your main concerns when seeking legal advice will be “How much will this cost me?”
This is also very important to us – in the 30 years that Mike Hallen has been a qualified Solicitor acting for clients he has realised that explaining fees carefully to clients at the outset, and keeping them up to date as matters move forward, ensures that there are no ‘nasty surprises’ at the end!
We have set out below a summary of our fees options within each section for more details. All the work that is done for you will be undertaken by Mike Hallen. Unlike in other larger firms, your case will be dealt with by Mike Hallen alone, from start to finish.
Free Initial Contact
Whether you contact us initially by phone or email, our first contact with you will always be free of charge, and with no obligation, for you to take the matter any further.
After that, the cost to you in terms of fees will depend on whether you are needing General Employment advice, require advice on a Settlement Agreement, or wish to bring a case to an Employment Tribunal for Dismissal or Discrimination.
General Employment Advice
After the initial free contact, we can offer clients an initial ‘fixed fee’ consultation (either in person in the office or on the phone) for £150 for up to 1 hour’s time. This is usually sufficient time to review your papers, discuss the problem with you and understand the issues, and then answer your questions/give advice as to future steps needed.
For any further advice after the initial fixed-fee consultation, our charges are based at the rate of £150 per 60 mins time. We will provide you with terms and conditions should you wish to take up this option.
Settlement Agreement Advice
The Settlement Agreement (“SA”) is a process under which the company pays you compensation and in return, you agree not to bring any legal claims against them in the future. The usual starting point would be for you to email us a copy of your Contract of Employment and the draft SA. We will then review this and meet with you to discuss your options and whether the package offered is fair and if there are any terms in the SA that need to be amended.
The timescale to then conclude the process varies – from eg. between 24–48 hours if there are no changes needed to the agreement, to 7+ days if changes are necessary.
Unlike other larger law firms, we try to ensure that your costs for completing the settlement agreement are included in the amount that the employer sets aside in the agreement for you to take legal advice. The normal reserve that the employer sets aside is £500. If the costs are likely to be above this, we will tell you at the outset and we can attempt to persuade the employer to increase the legal reserve so that you still do not have to pay from your own pocket to conclude the SA. Normally the Company will agree to pay for all (or at least most) of the fees if the SA goes ahead.
Employment tribunal claims: No win – no fee
After our initial phone free phone contact with you, if you wish to see me us, we will charge a fixed fee of £150 for advice up to one hour of our time to assess your case and let you know whether we are able to offer you a ‘no win – no fee’ agreement for your case.
If we can offer this, then the ‘no win – no fee’ arrangement basically means that we will take up the Tribunal case for you and take all necessary steps for you in the case. If we win the case at Tribunal, or if there is a settlement of the case, our total fees will normally be 35% (inclusive of VAT) of the amount of any money obtained from your former employer. This would only be payable to us when the settlement has been paid.
If however you are not successful in the case and do not recover anything, you will not have to pay us any fees.
Employment tribunal claims: Fee-paying
If we cannot offer you a ‘no win – no fee’ arrangement, or if you would prefer a fee-paying arrangement, then our fees for acting for you in the case will be at our normal rate of £150 per 60 mins time. We will provide you with my Terms of Engagement & Client Care document for full details if this option is required by you.
Each Tribunal Claim is different, and the time taken can depend on matters such as the complexity of the case, the amount of documentation involved, how many witnesses there are likely to be etc. However, as a guideline for a ‘typical’ Unfair or Wrongful Dismissal claim, for each main stage of a typical Tribunal case, our likely fees for each stage will be approximately:
- Getting the case underway at the Tribunal – 3.5 hours’ time = £525
- Dealing with your employer’s defence, discussing this with you and dealing with the ‘disclosure of documents’ stage – 3.5 hours’ time = £525
- Preparing your witness statement(s) – 4 hours’ time = £600
- Reviewing your employer’s statements with you and generally preparing for the Tribunal Hearing – 6 hours’ time = £900
- Attending Tribunal Hearing = £1,200+VAT per day (a typical Unfair or Wrongful Dismissal case generally lasts 1 day)