If your employer has offered you a settlement agreement, you’ll have to get legal advice on it. But how much is that going to cost?
Let’s look at the different options.
Free Initial consultation
One of the first things you should do when you receive an offer of a settlement agreement is pick up the phone and speak to a solicitor.
Our solicitors offer a free initial consultation of up to half an hour. This is usually enough time for you to:
- explain your situation
- obtain advice on what steps you should take next
- find out whether the amount you’re being offered is suitable
During the initial consultation, you can also learn more about us and how we can help you.
Usually your employer pays your legal costs in full
The proposed settlement agreement probably contains a clause confirming that your employer will pay your legal costs. The amount of this contribution is typically capped at between £250 and £500 + VAT.
If you’re basically happy with the settlement agreement, then the fee will probably be no more than that contribution. This means that there will be no cost to you personally.
However, if you need us to help you with negotiation, the amount of the contribution may not be enough to cover your costs in full.
So what will be the cost of negotiating a better settlement agreement?
We can often negotiate for you on a ‘no increase-no fee‘ basis. The advantages of this are:
- You only pay if the negotiation is successful
- Your costs only increase in proportion to the increased compensation your employer pays out
If we successfully negotiate a better deal, you only have to pay a percentage of the increase. Prior to the negotiation process, we will agree a suitable percentage with you. The percentage will depend on a number of factors, such as:
- the amount of money involved
- whether you would have a strong claim against your employer if no agreement is reached
- the stage at which a settlement is reached (for example, if employment tribunal proceedings become necessary, we would need to charge a higher percentage than if your employer agrees a settlement agreement early in the process)
Typically, the percentage is between 15% and 33% including VAT.
If your employer refuses to increase the compensation payment to you, you don’t have to pay your solicitor anything. There’s no risk to you.
Sometimes, we may not be able to offer a ‘no increase-no fee’ agreement. This may be because we don’t believe that there are good prospects of negotiating a higher settlement.
Negotiating for something other than money
Sometimes, you may need us to negotiate for something other than money. For example, this may be:
- a better reference
- removal of clauses that prevent you working for competitors
- a revised termination date.
If you choose this option, our solicitors will charge at an hourly rate of £250 + VAT. The total cost will depend on how long it takes to conclude the negotiation but typically it’s likely to be between £500 and £750 + VAT.
Usually, a settlement agreement is concluded without the need for employment tribunal proceedings (here’s why). However, if employment tribunal proceedings do become necessary, we may need to change the way we charge.
Who will advise you on your settlement agreement?
Advice on a settlement agreement is always provided by a qualified employment law solicitor. All of our solicitors have at least 15 years’ experience of advising on employment law.
All work is supervised by Andrew Crisp, who is the Principal Solicitor. He qualified as a solicitor in 1999.
What should you do?
If you need legal advice on a settlement, contact us for a free consultation.
We can provide you with the advice you need quickly and easily by telephone and email. Many of our clients never pay us a penny – the costs are paid in full by their employer.
If you would like us to negotiate for you, we can often do that on a ‘no increase-no fee’ basis, which means there’s no risk to you.