New guidance from the SCCO on electronic supporting files in COP cases

We have received updated guidance from the SCCO on the process for uploading electronic supporting documents for Court of Protection assessments via the DUC [Document Upload Centre]. Please note that the use of this is not compulsory, and that hard copy files can still be submitted as usual.

Is CE-File still relevant?

As per the current procedure, the Bill of Costs, N258B and Court Order providing authority for the assessment will still need to be e-filed via the CE-File system in place, however the electronic supporting papers cannot be uploaded via this system, and will not be accepted by the SCCO.

Can you use the DUC system for only select cases, or do you need to use it for all matters?

The DUC system needs to be used to submit any electronic supporting papers following receipt of the e-filing acceptance notification (as currently, you have 28 days following receipt of this to provide your papers, whether electronically or in hard copy). This can be used for all of your bills to be assessed, or can also be used on a selective basis, where you wish to provide electronic files in some cases, but hard copy papers in others.  

If you intend to use the DUC system for all of your matters, then you will need to email Costs Officer Leggett at Christine.leggett@justice.gov.uk, providing details of the email address to be linked as a user to the DUC, with a request to be added as a permanent DUC user. Once confirmation of this status has been received, you will not need to inform the SCCO every time you wish to submit electronic supporting papers via the DUC.

If you are not registered as a permanent DUC user, then the presumption of the SCCO is that they will receive physical files in the post/DX from you. If you do decide to make use of the DUC on a bill, then a comment should be left in the filing comments section when submitting the bill via CE-File, clearly stating your intention to submit the supporting papers electronically via the DUC. Not doing so could cause delays in your assessment, if the clerk reviewing the e-filing request is not aware that the files are to be submitted electronically.

How should electronic supporting papers be formatted?

Guidance was also provided as to how electronic supporting papers should be presented, summarised in the below points:

  • Files should run in chronological, from oldest to newest
  • Copies of the OPG102, OPG105, client care information and any disbursement invoices or Counsels’ fee notes should be included at the start of the files
  • The file should be named as the SCCO case reference, the Protected Party’s surname, and the dates of the general management period if relevant
  • It is preferable that there is an index, including hyperlinks
  • If more than one file of papers is uploaded, each should be clearly labelled with the SCCO reference number, the number of the file (e.g file 2), and the period of work which the file covers

Can you use the DUC for a matter you have already e-filed?

If a case has already been e-filed via CE-File and the acceptance notification received however you decide that you would like to submit your papers electronically, you will need to contact scco@justice.gov.uk, informing the SCCO that you wish to now provide electronic files, and providing the 18 digit submission number from your e-filing acceptance notification.

How do you register to use the DUC?

In order to register, you can contact Christine.leggett@justice.gov.uk, confirming the email address to be registered on the system. A response will then be provided outlining the next steps to progress the sign up.

You can find the full guidance issued by the SCCO on the below PDF document:

Ella Wilkinson is a Legal Apprentice in the Costs & Litigation Funding Team at Clarion. You can contact her on 0113 288 5693, or by email to ella.wilkinson@clarionsolicitors.com

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