At Clarion, we prepare over 2500 Court of Protection bills of costs each year to be assessed by the Senior Court Costs Office. We also review the bills once they have been assessed, monitor the common reductions and give advice to our clients on the outcomes of their assessment.
With the introduction of the e-bill, it can be more difficult to understand what has been reduced and the total costs allowed upon assessment. Below is a quick guide on how to understand the Costs Officer’s reductions.
Column K on Tab 6 of the e-bill which is labelled “Time Allowed” shows the amount of units allowed by the Costs Officer for each respective entry. If the amount of units have been changed from the original amount, the box will be highlighted as yellow and the new amount allowed will have been entered by the Costs Officer.
Fee earner allowed
Column M on Tab 6 of the e-bill labelled “FE Allowed” shows the fee earner/grade of fee earner. Again, if the fee earner has been changed by the Costs Officer, the box will be highlighted as yellow. The Costs Officer will use “A” for a Grade A fee earner, “B” for a Grade B fee earner, “C” for a Grade C fee earner and “D” for a Grade D fee earner. Please review Tab 4 which is where the fee earners are shown to ascertain whether all the rates have been allowed as claimed in the original bill. If a fee earners rate has been changed, the box will be highlighted as yellow and the new rate will have been entered by the Costs Officer, which will subsequently apply to all work entries shown on Tab 6. If you scroll down on this page, the Grades used and created by the Costs Officer will be shown.
The Costs Officer’s Comments
Column Z called “Finding text” shows the reasons as to why the Costs Officer has reduced the entry. Tab 17 deciphers the codes the Costs Officer may use and are shown below. These codes cover the most common reasons for reductions seen across COP assessments:
Tab 12 is now a pre-populated bill summary document based on the changes made in the earlier tabs, and shows clearly how much the profit costs were originally, and how much has been allowed on assessment, as well as the allowed VAT amount and whether the Costs Draftsman’s fee has been allowed or reduced.
Please get in touch with us at Costs.Support@Clarionsolicitors.com if you require any assistance to understand the e-bill once assessed. We can help provide you with advice in relation to whether we think you should appeal the reductions, what you can appeal and what you cannot appeal. We can also assist with drafting a request for reassessment letter. It is very important that you understand the reductions made to ensure that you’re happy with the outcome of the assessment.