Employment Tribunal Representation

Sarah Forster will handle your Employment Tribunal claim or defence. Sarah has specialised in employment law for over 20 years. She is a graduate of the University of Warwick (LLB Hons, European Law) and qualified as a solicitor in 1999.

Sarah spends about 50% of her time on tribunal work. She has considerable experience representing both employers and employees in Employment Tribunal proceedings and has dealt with hundreds of cases.

Sarah’s experience includes representing national retailers in unfair dismissal and discrimination cases throughout the UK including advocacy at hearings. Previously, Sarah has also acted for a trade union representing its members in all manner of Tribunal claims, including equal pay complaints and claims for race, sex discrimination and unfair dismissal.

For further information on Sarah Forster’s background and experience, see Our People.

Our charges for defending or bringing Employment Tribunal claims will vary depending on the details of the claim, how complex it is, the number and duration of Tribunal hearings and the extent of the work required. We will provide you with a fee quote at the outset of the case and review the fees as the case progresses.

Our usual approach is to charge for our services by reference to the time spent dealing with a case, based on our hourly rate of £225 plus VAT (currently 20%) and any disbursements.

Estimated Fees

(Wrongful / Unfair Dismissal cases)

We estimate the following costs for bringing or defending Wrongful / Unfair Dismissal Employment Tribunal claims.

These estimates apply whether we are acting for an individual or a business and the prices exclude VAT and any disbursements (such as photocopying costs or barrister’s fees).

The standard VAT rate is currently 20%.


Simple Case

e.g. claim for notice pay where the main hearing is 1 day.

£5,000 to £7,500
(plus VAT and any disbursements)

Medium complexity case

e.g. unfair dismissal, where the main hearing is 2 days

£7,500 to £15,000
(plus VAT and any disbursements)

High Complexity case

e.g. unfair dismissal involving discrimination, where the main hearing is 5 days plus 

£15,000 upwards
(plus VAT and any disbursements)

Disbursements / barrister’s fees

Disbursements are payments payable to third parties such as bulk photocopying or barrister’s fees.  We will usually handle payment of the disbursements on your behalf and then add them to your invoice. For further information, see factors to consider below.

Sarah Forster is an experienced Employment Tribunal advocate and will conduct some hearings herself. From time to time we will advise using a barrister.  In such cases additional fees for the barrister will be incurred. 

 The barrister’s fees will depend on the nature of the claim, the level of the barrister’s involvement and their experience.  Generally barrister’s fees will be split into: advice in the run up to the hearing charged on the basis of an hourly rate which will depend on their experience and could be between £75 to £300 or more per hour (plus VAT).  For representation at the hearing, barrister’s charge a “brief fee” which usually covers preparation for and the first day of the main hearing.  Refresher fees are payable for additional hearing days.  Typically a brief fee will amount to between £1,500 to £3,000 and a refresher fee (days 2 and onwards of the hearing) will usually be between £1,000 to £2,000 – plus VAT.

Factors to consider

The costs of bringing or defending a claim will vary according to various factors including the nature of the claim and the level of complexity. Things that may make a case more complex and costly can include: 

  • where there are a large number of witnesses
  • if there is significant documentation
  • where there are preliminary issues to be determined by the Tribunal, for example strike out, employment status, or whether a claim or defence has been brought within time – preparation for attendance at a preliminary hearing listed for 1 day can increase the cost by approximately £2,000 to £3,000 (plus VAT)
  • having to request additional information or reply to a request from the other party
  • having to make or defend applications to amend claims request additional information
  • applications for costs having to be made or defended
  • the main Tribunal hearing lasting longer than it has been listed for, for example where the hearing is adjourned – additional Tribunal days can increase the cost by approximately £1,500 to £3,000 per day (plus VAT)

The Above Estimated Fees



  • the ‘key stages’ referred to below
  • any travel within 25 miles of our office

Will not include

  • barrister’s fees (in relation to which see further above)
  • expenses instructing experts e.g. for a medical report
  • any work following the main hearing such as advising you about the merits of an appeal or review of a Tribunal decision
  • disbursements such as postage / courier costs (charged at market rates)
  • bulk photocopying costs of 50 pages or more e.g. where a bundle is to be produced (typically 20p per sheet)
  • travel time where the location of meetings with you or hearings fall outside a 25 mile radius of our office (travel time is charged at normal hourly rates)
  • accommodation (typically £75 to £150 per night), subsistence and travel expenses (e.g. 45p per mile for travel by private car and /or public transport and /or taxi charges where appropriate).


As noted above our charges, and any barrister’s fees, will be subject to VAT.

Key Stages

Bringing / defending an Employment Tribunal claim involves a number of stages.  The above fee estimates include the following:

  • taking your initial instructions, reviewing the case papers
  • pre claim conciliation to explore if settlement can be reached
  • if you are claiming: preparing and filing your claim and reviewing the other party’s defence
  • if you are defending: reviewing the claim, preparing and filing the defence
  • preparing (if you are claiming) / considering (if you are defending) details of loss
  • participating in ACAS conciliation or other settlement negotiations
  • preparing for and attending a preliminary hearing (case management discussion) at the outset of the claim
  • reviewing your documents, preparing and serving a list of your documents, reviewing disclosure by the other party
  • agreeing and preparing a joint bundle of documents
  • preparing your witness evidence
  • preparing for the main hearing including agreeing a chronology / list of issues / cast list
  • preparing for and attending the main Employment Tribunal hearing to include either instructing a barrister, to represent you on the day or, if we are to represent you, preparing our questions for the witnesses and our closing argument.

As noted, certain factors may make the process more complex and costly. 

If some of the above steps are not required, for example if you only wish to take our advice at certain stages or the case settles before the main hearing, our fees may be less.

You may have other funding options, such as legal expenses insurance with a car or home insurance policy under which your insurers may agree to fund all or part of your legal fees. We can discuss the full range of options when we take your initial instructions.

How long does the Tribunal process take?

If settlement is reached during early conciliation, the process is likely to take between 3 to 6 weeks.

If Employment Tribunal proceedings are commenced and the case proceeds to a final hearing the case is likely to take between 6 to 18 months from when the claim is issued and depending on the nature of the claim.  For example it may take up to 18 months from issue to reach a hearing in a complex discrimination claim.