How much does an Employment Tribunal case cost? - Paul Doran Law

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How much does an Employment Tribunal case cost?

How much does an Employment Tribunal case cost?

How much does an Employment Tribunal case cost?

If you’ve been mistreated at work, you might be thinking of taking your employer to the employment tribunal. Before you go much further, you need to understand the cost implications.

This article covers the likely costs and possible ways to pay.

First, the good news.

It doesn’t cost you anything to make a claim to the employment tribunal. Not a penny!

However, there may be legal costs to pay.

What are legal costs?

There may be fees to:

If you win…

In most cases, your employer will pay your legal costs.

Talk to us early on, and we’ll advise your chances of winning. We only ever act for employees, not employers, and can support you whether you’re in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales.

If you lose…

Your employer might threaten you into thinking that you will have to pay their legal costs if you lose, but this is not always true. They say that in the hope you will drop the case.

In fact, the chance of you having to pay your employer’s legal costs is tiny, and only applies if:

In the rare case that legal costs are awarded, the average amount is £2,400. However, there’s no limit to the amount of legal costs that can accrue in a complicated case.


Here are a few points to bear in mind to ensure you don’t get landed with legal costs:

How much are legal costs?

To give you an idea:

These figures are estimates only and include VAT.

What you get for your money

Obviously, you are paying to benefit from our qualifications and years of experience, since working with experts like us gives you the best chance of a successful outcome to your case.

We do a lot of work on your behalf, including:

Bringing down the legal cost

You’ll have heard the phrase: “Settling on the court steps”.

It’s true that most employers would prefer to settle in advance rather than risk going all the way to the tribunal, losing, and having hefty fees to pay.

It makes sense that the legal costs are lower if you accept an early settlement.

The costs are higher if the case goes all the way, there are many expert witnesses to call, you need a barrister, the case is particularly complicated… etc. etc. etc.

Cost:Benefit analysis

Clearly, it makes no sense for you to invest huge amounts of money on legal fees if you have no chance of winning, or if the settlement you’re likely to get is less than the amount you spend to achieve it.

We’ll help you analyse this balance to ensure you end up on top.

Ways to pay

There are various ways to pay your legal costs. Here is a brief overview (there’s a link below where you’ll find more information).


The first thing to check is whether you have any insurance in place that includes legal expenses. To see if legal expenses are covered, check your bank accounts, home insurance, motor insurance and life assurance policies. Also check if anyone else in your household has legal expenses insurance, as that might cover you too.

If you do have insurance in place, note that you don’t have to use the insurer’s recommended solicitor. You can choose whoever you want to use. Of course, we’d recommend you choose us – we’re experts in employment law and deal with successful cases for employees all the time.

And, when you instruct us, we will speak direct to your insurer so you don’t have the hassle of being the go-between.

No win, no fee

If you don’t have insurance, ask us about a ‘No win, no fee’ arrangement. It does what it says on the tin! If you don’t win, you don’t pay.

Fixed fee

Rather than risking ramping up unlimited hourly costs, you might like the certainty of a fixed fee. You can choose from various packages to help you budget.

Hourly fee

Pay as you go (and get what you pay for).

Our hourly fees  depend on the specific task, and the experience/qualifications of the person who does it.

If you need a barrister to argue your case, they generally cost between £600 – £1500 per day depending on their level of experience.

If you choose hourly costs, we’ll record the time we spend working on your case and send you regular invoices so there are no nasty surprises later on.

Do it yourself

The employment tribunals are designed to be less formal than the law courts, and the rules are intended to be less complex. However – even with legal support – making a claim can be lengthy and stressful. And the rules and deadlines are strict.

It is possible to go to the employment tribunal without the help of an employment lawyer. That’s what Nicola Hinds did in her pregnancy discrimination case (and won), but she described how long it took and how much work it was at an already stressful time. We wrote about that recently, in our article: “I’m pregnant and have been labelled emotional and hormonal”.

Obviously, we recommend using an expert employment lawyer like us, to help take the stress away and ensure you comply with the rules and deadlines. In short, we give you the best chance of winning, as proven by all our case studies and testimonials.

Getting started

Usually, the first step is to go through your employer’s grievance procedure. You’ll find this in your staff handbook or employment contract. If you want, we can get involved at this stage (or any later stage) to support you.

When you contact us here at Paul Doran Law, you don’t have to pay for the initial half-hour conversation. It’s free! That first call is your chance to tell us all about your situation. In return, we’ll advise how we can help and your chances of winning your case.

If your employer has already offered you a settlement which is satisfactory and relatively straightforward, the legal costs will usually be paid by your employer.

If you’ve been offered a settlement you think is unsatisfactory and you want our help to negotiate for more, we’ll give you a quote in advance.

We hope that helps and look forward to talking to you.

Note that settlement agreements are called compromise agreements in Northern Ireland.

Related reading

For more information on this subject, check out our related articles:

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Why Choose Us?

  • We only work for employees
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  • No Win, No Fee available
  • Insurance to protect against Tribunal fees