Additional guidance has been released from the Office of the Public Guardian in relation to the travel costs that can be claimed by Deputies.
The guidance sets out what travel costs might be covered and how to calculate them. It also looks at the following;
- fixed costs that solicitors and public authorities acting in Court of Protection proceedings may claim
- fixed amounts of payment that solicitors and public authority office holders acting as a deputy may claim
It follows amendments to practice direction B to part 19 of the Court of Protection Rules, made in April 2017, that introduced a new provision allowing public authorities and other third sector deputies to claim a fixed amount for travel costs (paragraph 21).
Interestingly, the guidance states:
The hourly travel rate may only be claimed for more than one member of staff where it’s strictly necessary for the case. For example, a risk assessment may have shown that staff need to ‘double up’ for health and safety reasons.
Deputies need to justify claims for more than one member of staff in their annual report.
I would always ensure that claiming two fee earners at an attendance is only undertaken when necessary.
The guidance also looks at ways that the Deputies should calculate travel time from their work base to the meeting location and for the return journey.
Please note, that this merely general guidance and that the Court of Protection has the ultimate discretion as to what accounts as reasonable.
The new guidance can be found at: http://bit.ly/2rsRvTh
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the Clarion Court of Protection team at : Copcosts@clarionsolicitors.com