Employment Tribunal claims – defending a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal – Employer

Our pricing for defending a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal depends on the complexity of the case brought against you by your ex-employee.

The Key stages in an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal are:

  • Assuming you contact us before the ET claim is brought but when it is anticipated, 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;
  • If pre-claim conciliation has not resulted in a settlement, reviewing the claim form (ET1) lodged against you by the ex-employee
  • Preparing the ET3 response form, agreeing it with you and lodging it at the Employment Tribunal – within strict time limits
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • Considering the schedule of loss from the employee
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • Identifying with you the documents needed to enable the Employment Tribunal and your employee to understand the case and your response to it
  • Exchanging documents with the other party and considering with you what they have disclosed
  • Obtaining information from you and others who may be able to act as a witness in defence of the claim; putting this information into a “witness statement” and agreeing the wording and content with the witness
  • preparing bundle(s) of documents for use at Tribunal Hearings
  • 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 preparing instructions to Counsel to represent you as advocate at the hearing

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of stages above are not required, in particular if it is possible to achieve a settlement before preparation needs to be done for a final hearing, the fee will be reduced. You may wish to handle part of the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs.

Depending on the complexity of the case, we may either before issue of the claim, or at some point after receiving the ET1 claim form, recommend that a second opinion be obtained from a barrister (Counsel).

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
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claim includes issues of disability (unless this is agreed by the employer)
  • The number of witnesses and documents
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if the employee claims to have been dismissed after blowing the whistle on the employer
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal  

How long will my matter take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved, or if it needs to go to a full hearing without being resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case may take as little as a few weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take about 6 months from issuing the claim form, or longer if a multi-day hearing is needed. This is just an estimate and we should be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.  

You need to remember that there are short time limits for an employee to bring an Employment Tribunal claim, and a short time limit to submit the ET3 response to the claim form.


We generally suggest that you attend a preliminary meeting at our offices to discuss the potential claim, or the actual claim if this is after issue, when we can explore whether your defence appears to us to have reasonable prospects of success and try to identify if it is a simpler or a complex case. Our fee for such a meeting, lasting up to an hour, and including some brief pre-reading of key documents and a short follow up letter or email is £450 plus vat.

You need to consider if you have any insurance in place that could assist you with the cost of defending a claim. Sometimes the insurance requires you to use a solicitor on your insurer’s panel.

Our fees are based on hourly charging rates for the lawyers involved, ranging from £125 for a trainee solicitor or paralegal, £145 - £280 for qualified solicitors depending on level of experience and £350 for partners. Vat needs to be added to these fees.

A simple claim is likely to cost between £5,000 & £15,000 plus Vat.

A more complex claim is likely to cost between £10,000 and £25,000 plus vat; it is also more likely that advice from a barrister (fee not included in this) may be appropriate during the course of conducting the case.

A fully complex claim is likely to cost £20,000 - £50,000 plus vat; it is also more likely that advice from a barrister (fee not included in this) may be appropriate during the course of conducting the case.  


You are here: Home People Dispute Resolution Prices and services information for employers