Grievance procedure & hearings solicitors

If you're having a problem at work, such as a dispute with your employer, talk to Tees. We'll explain your legal rights and options for getting it resolved.

Robert Whitaker, Bishop's Stortford

Grievance meetings at work: Advice for employees

If you have concerns or complaints about something that’s happened at work, it’s usually best to try to sort problems out informally. Talk to your employer, starting with your manager – or if they’re the cause of the problem, HR or another manager that you trust. If not suitable for dealing with informally, or matters are not resolved, you may need to raise a formal grievance. 

What is a grievance hearing?

A grievance meeting or hearing will be the meeting that takes place to consider your formal grievance. This is usually after prior informal attempts to resolve the problem have been unsuccessful. 

At the meeting you can communicate your complaint in more detail, share written evidence and ask questions; your employer will also likely ask questions. You will be able to say what it is you want done about the problem; your employer may, reasonably, have already invited to you provide details of your desired outcome. It’s not meant to be an adversarial meeting with two opposing ‘sides’ and both parties should seek to understand and discuss the issues and see how they might be resolved. 

After the meeting your employer should respond in writing and if your grievance isn’t upheld, they should tell you that you can appeal.

You can find out more about raising a grievance on the ACAS website.

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Our grievance hearing services

Our specialist employment solicitors can help you by:

  • drafting your grievance
  • briefing you on the process of the grievance meeting
  • advising on strategy and planning the key points you need to get across
  • helping you identify a companion for the meeting – who could be a union representative, or a friend or colleague
  • advising on an appeal against the decision, if your employer does not uphold your grievance and rectify the situation 
  • advising you on how you might pursue a settlement agreement strategy for exit and enter into a “protected conversation” with your employer, if that’s what you ultimately want
  • taking your employer to an employment tribunal and other considerations; this is only if it cannot be resolved and you choose to do this; we will advise you on all the options.

Call our specialist solicitors on 0808 231 1320

We're here to help

Our specialist lawyers are based in:

  • Cambridgeshire: Cambridge
  • Essex: Brentwood, Chelmsford, and Saffron Walden
  • Hertfordshire: Bishop's Stortford and Royston 

But we can help you wherever you are in England and Wales.

Grievance hearings FAQs

Tribunal fees: unfair dismissal

Unfair Dismissal 

No employment problem is exactly the same and as such, our fees will reflect the particular circumstances and requirements. 

  • Default Judgment – typically our costs will be in the region of between £2,500 - £3,500 plus VAT (straightforward facts and legal complexity, including where you successfully bring or defend your case without going to a final hearing)
  • Unfair Dismissal – typically costs in the range of £12,500 - £35,000 plus VAT (straightforward facts and legal complexity with full one day hearing, but still very much depending on the facts and numbers of witnesses and extent to which the factual matrix and legal arguments are contested and on what basis – see also factors that influence costs below)
  • Constructive Unfair Dismissal – typically costs in the region of between £18,000 - £40,000 plus VAT (medium complexity)
  • Unfair Dismissal  (high complexity – for instance involving allegations of unfair dismissal plus discrimination and/or whistle-blowing) -  up to £60,000 + VAT (high complexity including whistleblowing/public interest disclosure or discrimination)
  • Wrongful dismissal - This will usually only be pursued in conjunction with one of the above with the above cost estimates applicable.  If the value of the claim for wrongful dismissal exceeds the cap in the Tribunal, we may advise pursuing through the civil courts and where our costs could be an additional sum between £15,000 - £100,000 plus VAT depending on the values and complexity of issues arising.


£2,500 - £100,000 plus VAT 
Factors that influence costs 
  • Complexity of facts and extent to which this is disputed 

  • Volume and nature of documentation involved and whether there are any issues on what documents the parties have or haven’t disclosed to each other  

  • Whether or not the Tribunal lists the matter for a pre-hearing (this is a hearing before the main trial, typically when the Judge decides what legal issues there are and makes directions about what happens next)  

  • Numbers of witnesses

  • Number of parties involved 

  • Numbers of days’ hearing the matter is scheduled for 

  • Legal issues arising on if a Claimant is eligible to bring a claim and/or other procedural issues 

  • How much the case is worth and legal complexity of the complaint(s) 

Key Stages and typical costs for a relatively straightforward matter (in each case plus VAT)

  • Prior to claim being sent to the Employment Tribunal (including involving ACAS Early Conciliation) between the range of £750 - £3,500 
  • Submitting claim(s) (ET1) to the Employment Tribunal in the region of £1,500 - £5,000 
  • Drafting a defence to a claim (ET3 response) in the region of £1500 - £5000 
  • Preliminary Hearing-estimated range of £1,000 - £5,000 
  • Schedule of Loss £750-1500
  • Exchanging relevant documents in the case (disclosure) £1500 - £5,000
  • Trial Bundle of documents for the Judge to see – £750 - £3,500 (Respondent) 
  • Settlement Negotiations and ACAS COT3/settlement terms during proceedings - £1,500 - £5,000 
  • Witness Statements £2,500 - £7,500 
  • Final Hearing £1,500 to £4,000 plus disbursements (counsel’s fees to be charged in addition) plus additional costs at hourly rates for attendance at Tribunal with Counsel if required.  
The above figures may however vary in cases with special complications. That’s why we will always give you an individual cost estimate at the start of the transaction, taking into account the actual features of your employment problem.  
We will set out in writing the estimate for our fees, VAT and disbursements based on your instructions and circumstances of your case and what work we will do for you, including assumptions and exclusions.  We will always advise you as soon as possible about any complications and discuss the potential impact on price before any additional charges are incurred. 


  • Issue claim – 3 months less a day from date of act complained of, subject to first submitting to ACAS early conciliation 
  • To preliminary hearing (if required) – up to 5 months 
  • To final hearing – 6 months to 2 years. If default judgment – matters will usually take 3-6 months to conclude, though default judgments remain rare.  

Likely Disbursements

These are expenses incurred by us in undertaking the work we do for you. 
These typically are:
  • Barrister’s fees for Preliminary Hearing - £750 - £3,500*
  • Barrister’s fees for Final Hearing - £2,500 - £100,000* (first day), £650 - £3,000* (each additional day) 

*this will depend upon the call and experience of the barrister 

Services to be provided 

Our fees include: 

  • Taking instructions and reviewing documentation 
  • Pre-action correspondence with other side (former employer/employee) 
  • ACAS Early Conciliation steps 
  • Issuing ET1 Claim form or preparing an ET3 response and correspondence with Employment Tribunal 
  • Negotiations with other side* (whether direct with the other side or via ACAS) 
  • Obtaining default judgment* 
  • Preliminary Hearing steps, including list of issues, case management agenda (setting out the directions given by the Judge to bring the case to hearing), instructing barrister (counsel)*
  • Case management steps (schedule of loss, documents, trial bundle, witness statements)
  • Statement of issues/case list*
  • Final hearing (including deciding on compensation payable – “remedy”) 

*where appropriate/necessary  

Charging Basis 

We charge on the basis of hourly rates, which are as follows: 


For the avoidance of doubt, VAT is charged in addition to the costs and disbursements. VAT is charged at 20 % in addition to the costs/disbursements set out above.   

We will assess each case and discuss with you the most cost-effective strategy. This may include settling the case at an early stage to minimise legal costs.  More complex claims involving discrimination, protected disclosure etc. may need to be subject to separate pricing but we will advise you at the time if this is necessary. 

The costs in each case will depend on the factual and legal complexity of claims submitted and the above noted estimates are indicative and subject to review of the circumstances of your case. 

Employment law - Learn more
What is an employment tribunal?

An employment tribunal is like a court, specifically for handling employment disputes where an employee is bringing a claim against his or her employer. It’s made up of a judge sitting alone or a panel of three people, one of whom will be a judge, who will be legally qualified in employment law; the other two are lay members – that is, not judges or lawyers by profession, although they will have experience in employment issues.  One will be an employee representative, and the other an employer representative. Some cases can be heard just by the judge.  Cases of discrimination must be heard by three judges. Although it’s not a requirement to have a lawyer represent you, most people choose to have legal representation.

Learn more
What is unfair dismissal?

For a dismissal from a job to be considered potentially fair it must be on a ground set out under section 98 of the Employment Rights Act:

  • redundancy
  • performance 
  • conduct
  • illegality
  • “some other substantial reason”.

For the dismissal to be fair it will often need to pass the test of being within the range of reasonable responses of an employer. The employer will need to follow an appropriate fair process to minimise the risks of a claim finding procedural unfairness. 

Sometimes the situation is such that it’s considered to be an automatic unfair dismissal. This would be when it relates to something where the employee is protected by law such as:

  • maternity/paternity leave
  • parental/adoption leave
  • asking to be paid the minimum wage
  • pregnancy
  • trade union activities
  • making a protected disclosure (i.e. whistleblowing).

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