Our specialist ‘Court of Protection Costs Team’ work for over 30% of the Deputies, and for that reason we have extensive knowledge in this area. Costs Officers tend to have a core approach which they apply to detailed assessments, together with areas which fall outside this core approach which are dealt with on a bill by bill basis. However, if the Costs Officer can deal with this core area with ease, then their job can be dealt with more easily.
An easier job = a happy Costs Officer = the optimum result!
Here are my top tips on how to keep the Costs Officer happy:
- Always claim the appropriate hourly rates. If you do wish to claim a higher rate then an exceptional reason will be required to do so.
- Try not to claim Grade A rates throughout the entirety of a Bill of Costs. If you are a sole practitioner or you are unable to delegate, it could be suggested that the more straightforward tasks be claimed at a lower rate. This ensures that the time and rate claimed are proportionate and reasonable to the task in hand.
- Keep the ‘documents’ section of the bill as concise as possible to keep the Costs Officers attention.
- Only claim for the tasks that are recoverable. A Costs Officer could look at the Bill less favourably if every task possible has been claimed for. Examples of non-recoverable items are – photocopying, …………
- Clarify that certain parties within the Bill of Costs are not internal parties such as Tax Advisors or Accountants. If this is not clear, the time may be disallowed for a belief that it is inter-fee earner and therefore not recoverable, Leighanne Radcliffe (2004 ).
- Try not to claim for two fee earners at an attendance, unless there is a valid reason for doing so. The Costs Officers will generally only allow one portion of the time claimed, Garylee Grimsley – (1998)
If these top tips are applied I am confident that that you will achieve your optimum result.