Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution

Our team of experienced Litigation Solicitors provide advice on all areas of Civil and Commercial Litigation. From providing early advice on the merits of your potential claim, to issuing Court proceedings and negotiating settlement or continuing to trial, we are with you every step of the way.

We provide professional and pragmatic advice to ensure that our clients are able to pursue their claim in a cost-effective manner. Where possible we aim to resolve disputes at an early stage and give clear advice on the costs and risks of pursuing your claim further if settlement of your claim at an early stage is not possible. Where appropriate our Solicitors can advise and represent clients if alternative methods of resolution such as mediation are suitable.

The costs of litigation can be extremely high and put off potential claimants, denying them access to justice through the Courts. Because of this we work with our clients in providing clear upfront quotes for our fees or agreeing a fixed fee service where possible, so that clients are aware of the costs they are facing before proceeding.

We provide a free, no obligation initial interview of 30 minutes where we can discuss your matter and the options available to you. We do provide assistance to our clients at various points throughout any dispute and our costs start from £100.00 plus VAT.

Where appropriate we can offer No Win No Fee (Conditional Fee) Agreements.  This does not cover disbursements such as Counsel’s fees and Court fees.

Please note VAT is charged at the prevailing rate.

Our Civil and Commercial Litigation team routinely provide advice across a range of areas such as:

Emma Appleyard – Partner and Head of Litigation – Emma is supervised by Angela Lewis.

Emma is the head of our team and has been at HSW since September 2008, initially carrying out her training contract but then qualifying as a Solicitor in September 2010 and becoming a Partner in January 2019. Emma specialises in all matters dispute based and has been working in this area since being a trainee. Emma acts for a wide variety of clients, individuals, families and small to medium sized businesses due to the variety of her work.

Emma qualified as a Solicitor with HSW in September 2010 after gaining a distinction in her Legal Practice Course and a 2:1 in Law from Staffordshire University. Emma completed her training contract with HSW carrying out seats in Commercial, Dispute Resolution and Employment.

Emma’s hourly rate will vary depending upon the nature of the work. Her Court hourly rate is £255.00 per hour plus VAT and her Private hourly rate is £265.00 per hour plus VAT.

Annabelle Joy-Fenner – Solicitor – Annabelle is supervised by Emma Appleyard.

Annabelle has been with HSW since August 2021. Annabelle studied Law at Bangor University and then went on to complete her Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in Chester. Annabelle qualified as a Solicitor in September 2019 and before joining HSW worked in the Litigation Department of a Chester law firm which was recommended by the legal 500.

Annabelle advises in a variety of areas of law such as landlord and tenant (both residential and commercial), boundary disputes, contested wills and estates, breaches of contract, debt collection, professional negligence and consumer law.

Annabelle’s hourly rate will also vary depending upon the nature of the work. Her Court hourly rate is £177.00 per hour plus VAT and her Private hourly rate is £210.00 per hour plus VAT

Olivia Rowley – Solicitor – Olivia is supervised by a member of the Litigation Solicitor Team

Olivia grew up in Staffordshire studying Law at Keele University and the LPC at the University of Law before taking 3 years out of the Legal Profession to support clients in other ways.

Olivia joined HSW in 2022 as a Trainee Solicitor and qualified in March 2024.

Olivia’s hourly rate will be £200.00 per hour plus VAT.

To contact a member of the Team, click here

The following prices are for debt recovery that is not disputed. Disputed debts, will cost considerably more.

Debt ValueCourt Fee

Our Fee (plus VAT)


Up to £5,000.00.Between £35.00 – £455.00. Operates on a sliding scale and increases with the value of the claim.£500.00 plus VAT
£500.00 plus VAT and appropriate Court fee
£5,001.00 – £10,000.00
5% of the value of the claim£750.00 – £1,000.00 plus VAT£750.00 – £1,000.00 plus VAT and Court fee
£10,001.00 – £199,999.005% of the value of the claim.£1000.00 – £5000.00 plus VAT and disbursements for Counsel’s fees (Counsels fee will be agreed in advance with you)£1000.00 – £5000.00 plus VAT and disbursements for Counsel’s fees (Counsels fee will be agreed in advance with you)
£200,000.00 upwards£10000.00£5000.00 – £10,000.00 plus VAT and disbursements for Counsel’s fees (Counsels fee will be agreed in advance with you)£5000.00 – £10000.00 plus VAT, Court fee and disbursements for Counsel’s fee (Counsel’s fee will be agreed in advance with you).

Cost Transparency Information
Business to Business Debt that is undisputed
Court Claims

These costs apply where your claim is in relation to an unpaid invoice which is not disputed and enforcement action is not needed. If the other party disputes your claim at any point, we will discuss any further work required and provide you with revised advice about costs if necessary, which could be on a fixed fee (e.g. if a one off letter is required), or an hourly rate basis if more extensive work is needed.

Please note VAT is charged at the prevailing rate.

Anyone wishing to proceed with a claim should note that:
• The VAT element of our fee cannot be reclaimed from your debtor if you are VAT registered.
• Interest and compensation may take the debt into a higher banding, with a higher cost.
• The costs quoted above are not for matters where enforcement action, such as the bailiff, is needed to collect your debt.
Our fee includes:
• Taking your instructions and reviewing documentation
• Undertaking appropriate searches
• Sending a letter before action
• Receiving payment and sending onto you, or if the debt is not paid, drafting and issuing claim (high value claims may require the instruction of Counsel, we will discuss with you at the outset.)
• Where no Acknowledgment of Service or Defence is received, applying to the court to enter Judgement in default
• When Judgement in default in received, write to the other side to request payment
• If payment is not received within 14 days, providing you with advice on next steps and likely costs

Matters usually take 15-25 weeks from receipt of instructions from you to receipt of payment from the other side, depending on whether or not it is necessary to issue a claim. This is on the basis that the other side pays promptly on receipt of Judgement in default. If enforcement action is needed, the matter will take longer to resolve.

Employment Tribunal
Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal
Simple case: £3,000.00 – £6,000.00 (plus VAT)
Medium complexity case: £6,000.00 – £12,000.00 (plus VAT)
High complexity case: £12,000.00 – £18,000.00 (plus VAT)
Factors that could make a case more complex:
• 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
• Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
• The number of witnesses and documents
• If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer
• Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

There will be an additional charge for attending a Tribunal Hearing of between £1,500.00 to £2,000.00 per day (plus VAT). Generally, we would allow for 1-3 days depending on the complexity of your case. If Counsel is instructed costs may increase again we will discuss this with you at the outset before costs are incurred. Please note VAT is charged at the prevailing rate.

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as court fees. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.
Counsel’s fees estimated between £1,500.00 to £2,000.00 per day (depending on experience of the advocate) for attending a Tribunal Hearing (including preparation)
Additional Counsel’s fees may be due depending upon the complexity of the hearing.

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 or instructing Counsel to attend) 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
• Preparation and attendance at Final Hearing, including 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 on your individual needs.

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 12 – 18 weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take 32 – 52 weeks. 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.

How can I fund the legal costs?
Predominantly all costs are paid for privately by the Client as the matter proceeds. Other funding options may be available such as Legal Expenses Insurance and we will look to discuss this with you at the outset.