In the Court of Protection, most Orders will contain a clause entitling the professional Deputy to be paid for their work. This clause therefore entitles you to take fixed costs, or have your costs assessed, subject to the terms of the Order.
We therefore wanted to explain the basis of assessment, to clarify how your costs will be paid. The Civil Procedure Rules, Part 44.3 states that when assessing costs on the Standard Basis, “only allow costs which are proportionate to the matters in issue. Costs which are disproportionate in amount may be disallowed or reduced even if they were reasonably or necessarily incurred.”
Upon assessment, your costs are subject to the Costs Officer’s discretion and as a result, it is crucial that you evidence the work that you have done.
Recently, new Professional Deputy Costs Guidance has been released by the Office of the Public Guardian and the SCCO, which states that where evidence of the work carried out is not on the file (by way of file notes) the time spent could be disallowed. The Deputy must “resolve any doubt as to whether costs were reasonably and proportionately incurred or were reasonable and proportionate in amount in favour of the paying party.”
In order to show that your costs were reasonably and proportionately incurred, we recommend that you prepare file notes for the work undertaken, detailing the following:
- What you did
- How long it took you
- Who did the work
- When you did it
- Why you did it
- What action needs to be taken
Points 5 and 6 are particularly important in order to resolve any doubt in the Costs Officer’s mind. If you’re attending upon the Protected Party for the third time that year, tell the Costs Officer why it was necessary and what the next steps are to progress the matter. If you do not progress the matter in any way or it was unnecessary for you to do that work, it is unlikely that you will get paid.
If you have any queries about how to appeal an assessment or any general questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we would be more than happy to assist you. Please contact CopCosts@clarionsolicitors.com or call 0113 246 0622.