Case Management in the Court of Protection

A case management pilot scheme will commence in June 2016. In light of this a pilot Practice Direction has been published in order to allow for practitioners to prepare for the changes ahead.

The Pilot Practice Direction will place an obligation on all applicants to provide improved analysis of any issues at the start of a case which in turn will lead to more vigorous decisions being made against all the issues that could be identified at the earliest opportunity. It is hoped that this will help to encourage cases to be resolved within the early stages and also reduce lengthy hearings in contested cases. The length of the pilot is expected to run for up to 12 months.

The pilot scheme sets out three case management pathways for CoP proceedings:

  1. a Property and Affairs pathway,
  2. a Health and Welfare pathway, and
  3. a hybrid pathway for cases that have elements of both Property and Health.

Please note that there could be possible amendments to the draft before the pilot actually commences in order to take account of any observations made on it or for other reasons.

An interesting point to consider is that the Courts may direct any party to file and serve an estimate of costs pursuant to Practice Direction 3.1 (l) of the case management pilot scheme, supplementing the Court of Protection Rules 2007.

If you require any further information please contact the COP costs team on 0113 246 0622 or email copcosts@clarionsolicitors.com.

 

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How to Keep Your Costs Officer Happy!

Our specialist ‘Court of Protection Costs Team’ work for over 30% of the Deputies, and for that reason we have extensive knowledge in this area. Costs Officers tend to have a core approach which they apply to detailed assessments, together with areas which fall outside this core approach which are dealt with on a bill by bill basis. However, if the Costs Officer can deal with this core area with ease, then their job can be dealt with more easily.

An easier job = a happy Costs Officer = the optimum result!

Here are my top tips on how to keep the Costs Officer happy:

  • Always claim the appropriate hourly rates. If you do wish to claim a higher rate then an exceptional reason will be required to do so.
  • Try not to claim Grade A rates throughout the entirety of a Bill of Costs. If you are a sole practitioner or you are unable to delegate, it could be suggested that the more straightforward tasks be claimed at a lower rate. This ensures that the time and rate claimed are proportionate and reasonable to the task in hand.
  • Keep the ‘documents’ section of the bill as concise as possible to keep the Costs Officers attention.
  • Only claim for the tasks that are recoverable. A Costs Officer could look at the Bill less favourably if every task possible has been claimed for. Examples of non-recoverable items are – photocopying, …………
  • Clarify that certain parties within the Bill of Costs are not internal parties such as Tax Advisors or Accountants. If this is not clear, the time may be disallowed for a belief that it is inter-fee earner and therefore not recoverable, Leighanne Radcliffe (2004 ).
  • Try not to claim for two fee earners at an attendance, unless there is a valid reason for doing so. The Costs Officers will generally only allow one portion of the time claimed, Garylee Grimsley – (1998)

If these top tips are applied I am confident that that you will achieve your optimum result.

If you have any questions or queries in relation this blog please contact Danielle Schofield (Danielle.schofield@clarionsolicitors.com and 0113 3363213) or the Clarion Costs Team on 0113 2460622.