Court of Protection Practitioners should all now be aware that in July 2016 the Office of the Public Guardian and the SCCO issued guidance in respect of “Professional Deputy Costs”.
In summary, this is what you need to know when submitting estimates and bills for assessment:
- Only the SCCO Guideline hourly rates will be allowed, except in exceptional circumstances.
- Routine tasks such as arranging payments or checking bank statements should be delegated to a Grade D fee earner at best. There are also times when use of a non-fee earner would be considered appropriate.
- Three minutes will generally be allowed for arranging payments of any kind.
- One home visit per annum is appropriate, but more may be acceptable dependent on the needs of the case. Excessive contact with all parties should be limited.
- Work in respect of welfare is not recoverable, without permission from the COP.
- One senior fee earner will be allowed at investment strategy meetings.
- File notes must be present to evidence the work carried out.
- Office overheads i.e. research, perusing incoming correspondence, internal communications and supervision are not recoverable.
- Three minutes will be allowed for short, routine correspondence.
- Litigation costs should be appropriately claimed within the litigation proceedings.
- Grade D rates will be allowed for the preparation of the bill of costs.
- In hardship cases (net assets below £16,000.00), professional costs must be limited to 4.5% of the Protected Party’s estate per annum.
- On the client’s death, professional costs should be agreed with the executor of the estate.
- The OPG105 must be submitted to the SCCO with the bill of costs.
- Bills of costs should be prepared and submitted on an annual basis.
For further information and an explanation of what can be claimed in General Management bills, please go to the following link: