Employment and the Workplace

We regularly provide transactional support and strategies on acquisitions, disposals or mergers, including TUPE advice.

We also have expertise in advising on dismissal (unfair and wrongful) procedures, including attendance at Employment Tribunals, and managing workplace issues.


There are two main elements to the legal costs of dealing with employment applications on your behalf (whether you are bringing a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal or the defendant to such a claim):

(i)  our charges; and
(ii) expenses (disbursements) we must pay out of your behalf.


Based on our general experience of bringing and / or defending claims for unfair and/or wrongful dismissals through to a full hearing, our charges will usually be:

  • simple case £12,900 – £24,000 (excluding VAT);
  • medium complexity case £24,000 – £30,000 (excluding VAT);
  • high complexity case £31,000 – £42,000 + (excluding VAT).

VAT will be added to our bill where applicable, currently VAT is charged at 20%.

The exact cost and number of hours it will take depends on the circumstances of your case. Factors that could make a case more complex include:

  • whether it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim;
  • defending claims against a litigant in person;
  • making or defending a costs application;
  • the number of witnesses and documents required to resolve the case;
  • whether we need to attend any hearings in addition to the barrister presenting the case;
  • whether there are any linked discrimination allegations, protected disclosures or other connected claims.

We generally estimate a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal will involve an employment tribunal hearing of 1-3 days depending on the complexity of the case. If additional days are required, our charges would usually be correspondingly higher.

COSTS AND EXPENSES (Disbursements)

We will instruct a barrister (referred to as ‘counsel’) to present your case at all hearings in the employment tribunal (unless suitable alternative arrangements are made and appropriate costs agreed). Counsel’s fee is usually between £1,750 to £2,750, but it can be higher depending on the experience of the barrister needed in light of the complexity of the case. This fee includes counsel’s time for case preparation and time engaged on the first day of any employment tribunal hearing. Thereafter, a ‘refresher’ fee is charged by counsel for each additional day of any hearing, usually at the lower rate of £1,000 - £1,750 per day. These charges are exclusive of any applicable VAT. If you require solicitor attendance as well as counsel at a hearing, then our solicitor time will be an additional cost based on a day rate between £3,000 – £5,400 plus VAT.

We may incur certain other expenses on your behalf, which we will also add to your bill. The amount of expenses can vary. Usually our expenses will be limited to our travel costs only (exclusive of any applicable VAT), for example, where we need to travel to take witness statements or attend at a hearing. There are normally no court fees for claims in the employment tribunal. The standard rules on recoverable costs in the employment tribunal mean that you will usually remain liable for all the charges, costs and expenses incurred on your case. This is usually so whether or not a claim is successful.

If there are any other anticipated expenses (disbursements) e.g. interpreters’ and/or medical experts or other expert fees, these will be discussed with you at the outset of the case. These fees vary depending on the language and number of documents or other expert evidence involved. You may choose to use a friend or other third party of your choice as an interpreter. We will provide an accurate figure once we have seen the relevant documentation for your case.

If we, as solicitors spend additional time on settlement negotiations, which often run alongside the case preparation outlined above, then the time engaged for this will usually be charged separately at agreed hourly rates usually ranging from £500 - £900 plus VAT, depending on the seniority of the solicitor engaged.


The fee estimates 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 the merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout your case 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 instructing Counsel to attend any Preliminary Hearing or Case Management Discussions;
  • 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;
  • preparing for and instructing Counsel to attend the final full Hearing.

The stages set out above are an indication of what is needed for a typical case 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 depending on your individual needs.


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. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take two to three weeks to resolve. If your claim proceeds to a final full Hearing, your case is likely to take between 20-52 weeks as this will very much depend on the timetable of the employment tribunal. 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.


Angela Shields, a consultant to Thor Lion LLP, will be responsible for the advice to you.

Angela qualified in 2000, has practised employment law since then, and advises on all aspects of employment law.

Angela acts for medium-sized commercial clients, as well as for senior executives, dealing with all employment related matters. Angela advises individual clients on high value, complex, settlement negotiations, team moves and restrictive covenant issues.

Angela undertakes all types of employment-related disputes in the Employment Tribunal or High Court, whether pursuing or defending claims for unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, whistleblowing, discrimination claims and obtaining or defending injunctions. She mostly defends complex, high value cases at the Employment Tribunal and also has experience in the Employment Appeals Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. Angela uses her expertise in mediation, conciliation, arbitration and judicial mediation to ensure that her clients benefit from the full range of dispute resolution procedures.

Angela works as part of our Corporate team to deliver relevant employment advice on transactional work.