Defending Employment Tribunal claims

Dealing with employment tribunal claims as swiftly and effectively as possible for your business

Liability relating to claims before, during or after an employee’s time with your business can be costly, disruptive, and stressful. Our aim is to take on that stress for you so you can concentrate on the bigger picture – managing your business. We’ll take the weight of managing the employment tribunal claim for you, helping to limit the impact to your business, keeping cost to a minimum and striving for the best possible outcome.

Minimise disruption with a well-managed defense to employment tribunal claim

Our team of employment law solicitors can support you with:

  • Exploring your options thoroughly – We’ll first assess the situation, offering advice on the merits and likely value of the claim and potential award if successful. We’ll also review all documentation and advise you as to the best route to take for your business, exploring pre-claim conciliation and possible settlement before going to Tribunal.
  • Drafting ET3 Response and Grounds of Defence to Tribunal claims – We’re experienced in carefully reviewing ET1 claim forms, consulting thoroughly with you to discover all the facts of your specific case and drafting a precise and comprehensive ET3 Response and Grounds of Defence (and where applicable any Counter-Claim).
  • Assisting with the settlement of claims – If it is in the best interests of your business and the claimant is prepared to participate in reasonable settlement discussions, we can assist with that process, to negotiate and conclude a settlement agreement or COT3 agreement on your behalf.
  • Organising the Tribunal process and representation – We are able to significantly reduce the pressure of a Tribunal claim against your business. We’ll manage the claim for you and ensure that you comply with orders and requirements set by the Tribunal. Should you require an industry expert or barrister to represent you, we can organise this on your behalf, using our team’s experience and wide-ranging, expert contacts.

We’ll help you defend against claims such as:

  • Unfair dismissal following misconduct offences (including theft from employer – both property and data)
  • Constructive unfair dismissal cases (particularly involving the registration of senior executives)
  • Sexual harassment
  • Wide range of discrimination claims, including sex discrimination and disability discrimination
  • Unfair dismissal claims following a redundancy
  • Unauthorised deductions from wages
  • Unfair dismissal following performance management/capability proceedings

What our clients say

We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service for clients, but don’t just take our word for it.

Benefits of seeking professional support with an Employment Tribunal claim

Save time and money defending a claim – Reduce time spent on trying to research how to best run a defence when our experienced employment solicitors can manage the defence for you from an early stage. Meanwhile, you can continue to focus your time and energy on running your business.

Reduce the risk of a claim costing you more than it should – Involving a specialist employment solicitor from an early stage ensures that you follow the Employment Tribunal claims procedure and do not risk a default judgment against you or provide other advantages to an employee making a claim against your business.

Honest and transparent advice – We will seek to find and exploit advantages your defence to a claim has but will also be honest with you about the potential value of any claim against your business and its chance of success.

Pragmatic guidance for the best possible resolution – If your prospects of successfully defending or counterclaiming are not good, we might suggest settlement and can expertly guide you. As the Employment Tribunal is a public forum it is critical to balance risks to your business and impact of a loss at an Employment Tribunal on your business’ reputation.

Access to a team of experienced negotiators and trusted contacts – Our experienced employment solicitors are familiar and confident discussing and negotiating directly with the claimant employee or their representative, or through ACAS. We not only have an experienced team of employment solicitors here at Harper James – we have also built up a range of highly experienced contacts such as barristers who specialise in particular types of employment claims, which you can benefit from.

Who we help: Start-ups and scale-ups with fast-developing teams

As your business grows, accessing expert legal support is invaluable. But accessing it at a reasonable price from experienced solicitors that you can rely on is not always so simple. As champions of entrepreneurship, we aim to provide legal advice that’s cost-effective, holistic, and always from an experienced team. That’s why we created our legal subscription plans, helping you build a consistent partnership with our solicitors who will take the time to get to know, not just the matter at hand, but your business strategy and how best to support it with an ongoing relationship.

Why choose Harper James Solicitors?

Across the team our employment solicitors specialise in a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, from complex company restructures and redundancies and TUPE transfers, to producing employment contracts and HR policies and procedures for our clients. Our employment law solicitors have been recruited from top 100 firms or in-house counsel at top international businesses, and all have more than 10 years post-qualifying experience. Find out more about the employment law team here:

Pricing plans

Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:


Straightforward access to senior solicitors at a competitive rate.

An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive ‘City’ partner-level expertise at a fraction of ‘City’ prices.


Have legal peace of mind for £189 per month with additional support from £125 per hour.

A monthly subscription legal support package specifically designed for start-ups and smaller businesses.


Providing you with priority access to a dedicated panel of highly experienced solicitors.

Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.

Our Employment tribunal fees

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal are shown in the table below.

We charge based on an hourly rate which varies depending on the service plan you choose when you engage with us. We have three service plans, City, Enterprise and On-Demand.

Service provided Hourly rates (ex VAT) Average hours to complete Average costs (ex VAT)
City plan Enterprise plan On-Demand plan City plan Enterprise plan On-Demand plan
Low complexity case £250 £125 £150 – £195* 60-80 hours £15000 – £20000 £7500 – £10000 £11700 – £15600*
Medium complexity case £250 £125 £150 – £195* Up to 110 hours £27500 £13,750 £21450*
High complexity case £250 £125 £150 – £195* Up to 170 hours £42500 £21,250 £33150*

*On-Demand rates vary depending on the annual hours package purchased. Average costs shown use the highest hourly rate of £195.

For clarity this pricing does not apply to claims for automatic unfair dismissal (for example where an employee has been dismissed after having blown the whistle on their employer) or claims where allegations of discrimination are involved.

Factors that could make a case more complex include:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim;
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person;
  • Making or defending a costs application;
  • Number and complexity of preliminary issues;
  • The number of witnesses and documents;
  • The number of days for which the Tribunal hearing is listed;
  • The reasons for dismissal;
  • Complex compensation considerations (such as the calculation of final salary pension schemes or complex benefit structures);
  • The amount and nature of what directions are issued by the Employment Tribunal.

If we recommend, and you agree, that we attend hearings in addition to counsel, or if you wish us to attend, there will be an additional charge  for attending a Tribunal Hearing of between £750 to £1500 per day (ex VAT). Generally, we would anticipate a Tribunal hearing for unfair or wrongful dismissal lasting in the region of 2-15 days depending on the complexity of your case.


Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as Counsel’s fees for giving opinions and attending hearings, experts fees, copying, printing and courier/postal charges. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process. However, you will be required to pay the amount of the disbursements, up front, before the cost of those disbursements are incurred.

Counsel’s fees estimated between £1200 to £2500 per day (ex VAT), depending on experience of the advocate for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation).

Key stages

The fees 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 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;
  • 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 attending) a Preliminary Hearing;
  • 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; and
  • Instructions to Counsel

The stages set out above are an indication 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 based on your individual needs.

Our senior employment law partner, Simon Gilmour, heads up our employment team and has over 25 years’ experience leading some of our most high-profile cases to a successful conclusion. Regardless of which member of our employment law team works on your matter, they will be supervised by Simon.

Our solicitors have experience in all aspects of employment law and we dedicate ourselves to ensuring our knowledge stays up to date, in order to give you the best service possible. They each have more than 12 years of experience in the area. We always make sure that all our solicitors and members of staff are supported and supervised appropriately so that the quality of advice is not affected, regardless of who is working on your case.

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. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take up to 6 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is currently likely to take 12 months to 3 years (depending on the complexity of the case and which Tribunal it is assigned to). 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.

What next?

Please leave us your details and we’ll contact you to discuss your situation and legal requirements. There’s no charge for your initial consultation, and no obligation to instruct us. We aim to respond to all messages received within 24 hours.

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A national law firm

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

Floor 2, Cavendish House, 39-41 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP
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