Unlike any other area of law, there is a process regarding Court of Protection assessments that is not in any written case or law, however a spoken arrangement passed down by Costs Judges in order to save judicial time – the Request for Reassessment.
What is it?
Once a Court of Protection Bill of Costs has been assessed at the SCCO, there may be various reductions made that you would not agree with, whether that be a reduction to your hourly rate, time spent liaising with P that was deemed ‘too excessive’ without any reference to case law or document reviews that were ‘unnecessary’. There is a chance to appeal this with the correct justification, prior to arranging a hearing.
It came about following a review of the appeal process by Master Haworth, as only oral hearings, which are expensive and time consuming were used for appealing amounts of time which did not justify the use of the process. Often the cost and time spent in an appeal outweighed any proportionate benefit.
Upon reviewing the assessment, if you are unhappy with it, you can lodge a request for reassessment with the SCCO.
The process for the request for reassessment is as follows:
- If you are unhappy with the outcome of the assessment, you can request a reassessment within 14 days of the original assessment.
- The Bill of Costs is returned to the Costs Officer who undertook the initial assessment for reconsideration in respect of the issues requiring reconsideration.
- The Costs Officer will generally accept where they have made an error. They base their assessment on the points raised before them, so these points need to be justified and they need to have all of the facts to make an informed decision. It is not worthwhile to simply disagree with their approach – you need to explain why you disagree with particular reductions and on what grounds they should increase the amount allowed.
- The assessment will be reconsidered on paper and returned to you with additional comments following the Costs Officer’s reassessment.
- If you are still unhappy with the assessment, you can proceed to an oral hearing before a Costs Master; but be aware that this can be an expensive and timely process.
Here at Clarion, we are more than happy to review any assessments and consider an appeal; we can also lodge the request for reassessment on your behalf. Please get in touch with a member of our Costs Team to find out more.
Joshua Sidding is a Paralegal in the Court of Protection Team of the Costs and Litigation Funding Department at Clarion Solicitors. You can contact him at Joshua.firstname.lastname@example.org and 0113 222 3245, or the Clarion Costs Team on 0113 246 0622.
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