We appreciate that defending or making a claim in an employment law matter is often stressful. It can also be challenging to finance legal advice. That's why we believe in being upfront and transparent about costs throughout your case, and why we make our fees readily available and easy to understand.  

Ways of paying 

The options for payment depend upon the type of case and our agreement with you, but may include: 
fixed fee 
hourly rate 
Clients have rated us on ReviewSolicitors as providing Excellent value for money. 
We are listed by ThreeBestRated as one of the three best Employment Law firms in Birmingham, based on an inspection which includes costs. 
For each stage of your case, we will agree a fixed fee for the work involved. This will be based upon the complexity of the matter and the time we believe your case will take. 
The fee will only change if your case involves significantly more work than usual, which is rare.  
This offers you certainty and makes it easier to budget. However, if you would prefer an hourly rate you can discuss this with your solicitor. There may also be some stages where it is impractical to set a fixed fee, and we will use hourly fees (see table).  
These fees are for the work done by your solicitor. There may be other costs involved in your case, which are explained in the FAQs below. In most cases we will ask you to make payments in advance to cover any anticipated fees or disbursements (payments made on your behalf). 
Hourly rate excluding VAT 
Hourly rate including VAT 
Principal Solicitor 
Associate Solicitor 
Associate Solicitor 
Senior Litigation Executive 
Legal Assistant 
Legal Assistant 


If you have an employment law claim but are worried about the cost, Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) might help. We work with insurers so that financial barriers don’t stop you from getting a fair outcome. 

What is Legal Expenses Insurance? 

Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI) is insurance that contributes to your legal costs should you need to make or defend a claim. Insurers usually have a set hourly rate that they will contribute towards your payments, so you only have to fund part of the costs. (For LEI cases we charge hourly, using the rates above.) 
It is often provided as an add-on to insurance policies, such as home, building, car or business insurance. It can also be included in policies for free or as standard, so you may have LEI without realising it. 
Find out if you have LEI by reading any insurance policies you have. If you have LEI, your insurer should contribute to your legal costs if they believe you have a reasonable chance of winning. The rate they will contribute might be stated in your contract or policy; if not it should be available from your insurer.  

How we work with LEI clients 

You will need to confirm your LEI cover before we are able to begin work. If you aren’t sure how to go about this, we can help you. 
Some insurers may prefer you to use one of their 'panel solicitors' that they have an agreement with, but you are entitled to choose your own solicitor in proceedings. 
Even though your insurer is paying towards your costs, you are our client. We act in your best interests and have the same responsibility and commitment to all clients whether LEI or fully privately funded. Our priority is to help you resolve your dispute fairly and in your best interests, so that you can move on in your career. 
Throughout your case, we may have to speak to your insurer about budget. Some insurers will only contribute to work that they have pre-approved, and so we will need to keep them up to date with progress, our plans, and the prospects for success. This can sometimes slow the process down slightly, but we are experienced in working with LEI and will factor this additional time into our plans. 


We understand you may be concerned about the cost of legal advice and representation. It’s something we’re very conscious of as a firm, so we try to be as clear as possible about legal costs. 
The cost will depend upon how much work is involved. Factors that affect the overall cost, include: 
the complexity of the case 
the amount of evidence involved 
the legal issues the case relates to 
allegations of discrimination (these tend to be complex) 
making or defending a costs application 
complicated preliminary issues, such as strike-out orders or disputes over employment status 
applications to amend a claim or response (in legal proceedings) 
if the other party does not have expert representation (we usually have to spend more time when dealing with litigants in person) 
it is difficult to give a precise estimate. However, the estimates below should give some guidance to the likely cost of taking a case through the full tribunal process: 
A simple unfair dismissal case would likely cost around £5,000-£10,000 to go through the full tribunal process. 
More complex cases are likely to be in the range of £10,000-£25,000, particularly if the final hearing lasts more than one day. 
Complicated cases involving substantial amounts of evidence or complex legal arguments are likely to exceed £25,000. 
Wrongful dismissal cases tend to be simpler and require less time to complete. These will likely cost around £5,000. 
These estimates are based on our experience, and include VAT and disbursements. They are based on the hourly rate for an Associate Solicitor, and include a modest amount of time for an Associate Solicitor to attend the first morning of the final hearing. 
Cases do not always go through the full tribunal process as settlements are common. However, it is important to understand the potential cost because settlements cannot be guaranteed. 
Your solicitor's priority is to resolve the issue in your best interests. This includes helping you to balance the likely cost of your case against the chances of winning, the possible compensation, and the benefits of early settlement. 


The cost of legal advice and representation often includes more than a charge for work done by a solicitor. Apart from our work there may be costs payable to third parties (often called disbursements) when preparing a client’s case. For example: 
In a claim to an employment tribunal we may recommend the use of an expert witness. 
During a claim in the civil courts (County Court or High Court), court fees almost always have to be paid to the court at various stages of the case. 
We may recommend the use of a barrister to help with your case; to prepare a claim or defence, to give a legal opinion or to appear as your advocate at a hearing. The charge that a barrister will make depends upon several factors such as their level of expertise and the time which she or he will be involved on the claim. As a guide, the charge that a barrister may make for appearing on a client’s behalf at a hearing will be between £1,200 and £3,600 including VAT for a day’s advocacy. 
Which disbursements are involved in your case will depend upon the type of matter and the facts of your case. We will advise you of the likely amount and nature of fees and expenses that you may incur whilst we work for you. 


Many cases don’t go through the full process and are either settled or withdrawn before the case reaches the final hearing. If a claim reaches a final hearing, the key stages involved are: 

Initial assessment of your claim and its strength 

Usually this will involve taking a detailed account from you and examining documents and correspondence such as employment contracts and email communications. 

Dealing with Early Conciliation (where required) 

Early Conciliation is a mandatory pre action process through ACAS to try and resolve the dispute before pursuing a legal claim. It is almost always required. 

Dealing with the claim (ET1) and response (ET3) 

Whether you are the claimant or respondent, we will help to present a strong, clear case on your behalf in the official documents, describing how the law applies in your circumstances. If you are the claimant, we will assess the response from the other party, and how it affects our case. If you are the respondent, we will assess the claim submitted and how best to respond to it. The judge may use these forms to assess the strength of each party’s case if a judicial assessment is required, which could influence settlement negotiations. 

Negotiating settlement with the other party on your behalf 

Presenting a strong case at every stage of the dispute could help you to achieve a good settlement with the other party. We will regularly assess the strength of your case and the potential outcomes, in order to help you decide the best course of action and what a reasonable settlement would be. We will also consult with you to understand your priorities and help you decide what is in your best interests. A settlement can be reached at any point during the claim up until the final hearing. 

Creating an agreed bundle of documents to be used by the parties and Judge at the final hearing 

We will assess which documents are helpful to your case and negotiate with the other side about which documents should be included. 

Creating a schedule of loss 

Helping you to understand which losses can be claimed and what evidence is needed. 

Preparation and exchange of witness statements setting out the evidence that witnesses will give at the final hearing 

We do not coach witnesses about their factual evidence, but we assess the impact of the statements on your case, and how we respond. 

Preliminary Hearing 

This is a case management conference to define the issues in the case and give directions or determine a specific issue. If your claim does require a preliminary hearing, the work involved will depend upon the issues being considered. 

The final hearing 

Simple cases may be decided in a day, but more complex cases with a lot of evidence can be scheduled for longer. Depending on the facts of your case, you may be represented by your solicitor or by a barrister. 


Can I get free legal advice for my employment dispute? 

If you are a member of a union, you may be entitled to free legal advice. We will advise you if we think that this applies to you. Government funded aid is not available for employment law matters.  
We do not take on pro bono work or offer conditional fee arrangements. We are only able to act for clients who can pay for advice or have legal expenses insurance

I'm an employer - do you work by retainer agreement? 

Employers often ask about retainer agreements for legal services. We feel that retainers, whilst useful in some circumstances, may not be the best option for our clients. Instead, we usually charge by the time it takes to work on the case. 

What if your conclusion is that I don't have a claim? 

We charge based on the work done by our firm. Sometimes, this work may lead to a conclusion that you do not have a strong legal case. We understand that this may be disappointing. To come to this conclusion, we may have had to read and analyse a number of documents, investigate the circumstances of your claim, apply the law to your unique circumstances or even speak to the other side. This takes time, legal knowledge, and skill.  
This advice will be valuable. It gives certainty and is likely to save you money and effort fighting a case with few prospects, reduce stress and draw a line under the matter. 
While we understand that you may be disappointed, we charge for the work carried out rather than on a conditional basis (i.e. we do not charge only for positive advice).  

How long will my employment claim take to resolve? 

The time that a claim will take to complete from the preliminary stages through to final hearing depends on several factors, such as the complexity of the case is the state of the tribunal’s diary. A final hearing is fixed by the tribunal either after the claim has been issued or at a Preliminary Hearing. In our experience it is likely to be 6 to 10 months before a claim is concluded at a final hearing in simple cases and 12 to 18 months in more complicated cases. 

Will my legal claim be worthwhile if I am successful? 

If your claim is successful, you will likely be awarded compensation. However, the court will not order the other side to pay your costs and expenses. We strongly recommend that you only pursue your case if you have a good prospect of achieving compensation that reasonably outweighs your costs. We will advise on the strength of your case and the potential compensation to help you make this decision.  

I'm worried that the costs will spiral out of control. Can you help? 

We appreciate that many people have concerns around the cost of legal advice. This is why we prefer to act on a fixed fee basis, giving you certainty.  
We will agree a fixed fee for each stage of your case. Once agreed, this will only change if your case becomes more complex, requires urgent action or otherwise demands significantly more attention than initially anticipated. This happens rarely. If anything happens that we feel is likely to impact on your costs, we will let you know.  
We also provide information to help you understand how we calculate your bill, and tips on how you can work with your solicitor to make the most of your budget.  

What happens to money on account? 

Advance payments are deposited into our Client Account and are governed by rules set out by the Solicitors Regulation Authority's Accounts Rules. We will pay interest on the average balance that was held for you providing the interest accrued amounts to £20 or more. Interest is calculated at the rate available on an instant access savings account from Barclays Bank. 
We are required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to deposit monies in instant access accounts only. This means that the interest rate paid on money in our Client Account may not be as high as you can achieve by placing the money in a savings account yourself. 
Calm, professional and provided first class legal representation. Ian managed to keep costs down using his years of experience. We would highly recommend Ian Jones and the whole Spencer Shaw team to anyone who requires honest, decent, professional, cost effective & highly experienced advice and legal representation. Thank you Team Spencer Shaw! 
Good and effective service, clear and upfront about all arrangements and costs. Thank you 


Do you have a legal matter you'd like to discuss with us? Get in touch using the details below or use the form here and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your enquiry. 
Phone: 0121 817 0520 
Address: Spencer Shaw Solicitors Limited 
St Mary's House, 68 Harborne Park Road,  
Harborne, Birmingham, B17 0DH 
Opening hours: 
Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM 
Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays - Closed 
Keep in touch 


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