At a glance, the costs of a professional Deputy may seem expensive. However, the level of knowledge and work undertaken by a Deputy justifies these costs, especially in a case where the award was of substantial value. Once broken down, the costs of a Deputy are reasonable and can be justified.
The Protected Party is a 24-year old with severe cerebral palsy. He suffered intracranial haemorrhage and brain injury following a traumatic premature birth and during a breech delivery. His litigation friend brought a clinical negligence claim on his behalf, arguing that the Protected Party’s injuries could have been avoided by a caesarean delivery. The Defendant accepted liability as the brain injury could have been avoided.
At the settlement hearing, some heads of loss had been agreed, but the costs of the professional deputy remained in dispute.
All parties accepted that the Protected Party lacked capacity to look after his own financial affairs, and predicted that this would be the case for the remainder of his life time. Therefore, a Professional Deputy was to be appointed; the cost of which continued to be argued.
It was deemed that although the Protected Party’s parents were supportive, it was not appropriate for them to administrate the Protected Party’s financial and property affairs. They had stated that they wanted to work alongside the Deputy, not against them. The Protected Party had some level of understanding and communication, so the Deputy was obliged to liaise directly with him.
What is considered reasonable for Deputyship costs?
For annual management
|Year||Claimant Costs||Defendant Costs||Award|
|1||30,605 plus cost of 2 visits||14,000 inclusive of 2 visits||30,000 inclusive of visits|
|2||21,492 plus cost of 2 visits||9,000 inclusive of 2 visits||20,000 inclusive of visits|
|3||17,040 plus cost of 1 visit||8,000 inclusive of 1 visit||15,000 inclusive of visits|
|4||17,040 plus cost of 1 visit||8,000 inclusive of 1 visit||15,000 inclusive of visits|
|5 onwards||11,232 plus cost of 1 visit||7,000 inclusive of 1 visit||10,000 inclusive of visits|
The parties agreed that for extras such as transfers of Deputies, Wills, co-habitation or pre-nuptial agreements and “crisis payments”, a further £38,160.00 was reasonable.
The Judge allowed a total of £898,993.00.
This judgment can then be compared to the PNBA Facts & Figures 2017/18 (pages 258-288) whereby this outlines what could be classed as reasonable when awarding damages to cover the cost of the claimants Deputyship fees. Please refer to the table below.
|Year and Expected Work to be Undertaken During the Deputyship Management||Estimated Costs|
|1st Deputyship Year||£32,570|
|2nd Deputyship Year||£23,666|
|3rd Deputyship Year||£19,775|
|Thereafter annual costs of £15,959 x 21.28||£339,607|
|Applications for appointment of new Deputy (x2)||£7,588|
|Statutory Will Application||£14,538|
|Contingency for crises||£6,360|
|Preparation of tax returns £600 p.a x 24.28||£14,568|
|Winding up – single payment||£1,800|
Finally, it’s noteworthy that all Deputyship costs are assessed by the Senior Courts Cost Office and the fee earners are regularly limited to the SCCO Guideline Hourly Rates whilst costs are awarded for Deputyship work, this is further scrutinised on assessment based on what is reasonable, proportionate and necessary in the Protected Party’s best interests.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Georgia Clarke or the team at COPCosts@clarionsolicitors.com