Who runs the department?

Joanne Lawrence-Hall

Joanne Lawrence Hall SolicitorJoanne Lawrence-Hall qualified as a solicitor in 1991 and has over 20 years experience in bringing and defending proceedings in the Employment Tribunals and courts and providing advice and services on employment law for a full range of clients from individuals to national institutions. 

In her employment practice Joanne has advised both large and small employers including well known national charities in contentious and non-contentious matters.

She often advises employees on settlement agreements and disputes with employers. She is a member of the Employment Lawyers’ Association.

Joanne is supervised by our managing partner Julian Cioffi (File Supervisor), who qualified as a solicitor in 1992 and who has undertaken aspects of employment law advice ever since.

Joanne can be contacted on 01273 467477 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Employment Law Services and Fees

We offer services in employment law to both employers and employees. For employees we advise on drafting contracts and policies, advising on disciplinary procedures or redundancy handling. For employers we advise on new contracts of employment, employment rights. This work is charged by reference to time spent and the current rate is £260.00 per hour plus VAT.

We endeavour to resolve employment disputes without pursuing costly court or Tribunal proceedings where we can but where it is not possible to reach a settlement then we will robustly act your behalf bringing or defending a claim in the Employment Tribunals or courts. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer a conditional fee or damages based fee agreement. However, you should always check to see if you can fund your claim through your union or through legal expenses insurance which may be attached to an insurance policy you hold or through your bank or credit card facilities.

Where proceedings are not required and the issues are quickly resolved with a settlement agreement our fees usually do not exceed £500.00 plus VAT.

Where we act for the employee, these charges are usually paid by the employer. In these cases, we advise on the rights being waived and on terms of the proposed settlement. Where extensive negotiation on the agreement is needed, that is usually concluded in a couple of additional hours at £260.00 per hour plus VAT. Sometimes that excess is not paid by the employer, but in those cases most often the agreement is amended in a favourable way which can include additional payments.

Where we act for the employer in a straightforward settlement agreement our fees are approximately £1,000.00 - £1,250.00 plus VAT for drafting the agreement to include very minor exchanges about it with the employee and procuring its execution. If extensive negotiation is required that is usually concluded in a couple of additional hours at £260.00 per hour plus VAT.

Where Employment Tribunal proceedings are necessary our fees can be as set out below. Costs in cases that conclude very shortly after a claim has been commenced and defended, for example as a result of ACAS conciliation once defended can cost as little as £1750.00 - £2,500.00 plus VAT. If a claim settles during pre-claim conciliation costs it could be £750.00 - £1,500.00 plus VAT

It all depends on how much time is spent on the matter before it settles and how early on in a matter we have been instructed. The greater our involvement, the greater the time spent which accrues at £260.00 plus VAT per hour.

Where we are instructed at an early stage cases can often conclude satisfactorily without proceedings in just 2-3 hours of time. Many cases conclude before final hearing even where proceedings are commenced.

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal that conclude at final hearing.

Simple case: £4,500.00 – £7,500.00 (excluding VAT and disbursements).

The majority of cases would fall in this range. At the lower end this would include our charges for taking the case through to final hearing where it lasted for less than half a day and there are 2 or fewer witnesses. This would usually include cases that were automatically unfair dismissal. At the lower end, the issues will be fairly straightforward and there will not be a lot of documentation to consider.

Costs would move towards the upper end of this range if there was greater complexity, a reasonable amount of documentation to include policies, grievance notes, employee files to consider and 4 or fewer witnesses combined on both sides. Costs can also increase where we are opposing a litigant in person.
Cases requiring one expert would be at the top of this range and could go to £15,000.00 plus VAT. Matters that require more than one or two interim applications or that involve complex preliminary issues such as whether the client is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties) may not fall within this range and are more likely to cost between £7,500.00 and £15,000.00 plus VAT and possibly more.

Medium complexity case: £7,500.00 - £40,000.00 (excluding VAT and disbursements).

Here the final hearing would exceed a day, but not a week. There would be a number of witnesses and several complex issues of law to deal with. The relevant documentation to consider would usually exceed 1,000 pages. Complex and lengthy capability or conduct issues may be involved. These cases would involve more than one interim hearing for applications or directions. They would include complex matters requiring up to 2 expert witnesses and counsel’s involvement more than once before final hearing.

High complexity case: £40,000.00+ (excluding VAT and disbursements).

These are the most complex cases of high value, requiring detailed legal argument, a number of witnesses, together with expert witnesses and considerable reliance upon counsel.

Other factors that make a case more complex:

  • if it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide information about an existing claim;
  • defending claims that are brought by litigants in person;
  • making or defending a costs application;
  • complex preliminary issues such as whether the client is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties);
  • the number of witnesses and documents;
  • if it is necessary to obtain and make applications for the attendance of witnesses who are reluctant to come to court or for the production of documents;
  • if it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim, e.g. if you are dismissed after making a public interest disclosure (blowing the whistle on your employer);
  • allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal;
  • If it is necessary to obtain expert evidence.

The costs estimated above include reasonable telephone attendances upon and correspondence with you, the other party, ACAS, the court or tribunal, counsel and any expert witnesses. The cost will increase where there is a very high volume of correspondence or telephone attendances. There will generally be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal hearing of £1,750.00 per day (excluding VAT and costs of travel). Generally, we would allow 1 -15 days, depending on the complexity of your case.


Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees (if your case is held in the County or High Court), payments to expert witnesses, postage to bulky items and travel expenses. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Counsel’s fees are estimated between £2,500.00 plus VAT for simple cases and around £30,000.00 plus VAT for highly complex cases (this could be more, depending on experience of the advocate, the sums involved and the length of the hearing) for representation at the tribunal hearing (including preparation). In addition, Counsel will charge a daily fee if the matter takes more than one day. This is known as a ‘refresher’ and is estimated between £500.00 - £3,500.00 plus VAT per day (depending on experience of the advocate and the complexity of the case).

Key stages

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the 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 for and considering a schedule of loss;
  • preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing or any other additional hearing;
  • preparing additional documents such as Scott Schedules (theses are schedules of allegations and responses)
  • exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents;
  • taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses;
  • preparing the bundle of documents and copies;
  • reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements;
  • agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list;
  • preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel.

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the 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 on your individual needs.

The above charges are based on our current hourly rates which are set out below. Additional work that does not fall within those ranges or charges will be charged by reference to time spent.

 Current Hourly Rates 
 Person   Hourly rate 
 Julian Cioffi  £260 plus VAT
 Joanne Lawrence-Hall  £260 plus VAT

These rates are reviewed and updated annually. Clients with matters in progress will be notified of any changes before they take effect.

Our aim is always to ensure that our fees are fair and reasonable and to balance the legitimate expectations of our clients and commercial return so that we can continue to provide a viable quality service. Our fees have regard to all the circumstances of each case but in particular to:-

  • the complexity of the matter and the difficulty or novelty of the questions raised;
  • the skill, labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved;
  • the time spent on the matter;
  • the number and importance and complexity of the documents prepared or reviewed;
  • the amount or value of any money assets or property involved;
  • whether any land involved is registered land;
  • the importance of the matter to the client; and
  • any agreed fee range or fixed charge.

How long will my application 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 4-8 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a final hearing, your case is likely to take 6-12 months. 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.

A hard copy of this information is available on request via our reception.

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