Deprivation of Liberty Safeguardings

This article looks at whether Deprivation of Liberty Safeguardings (DOLS) can be applied to cases where the Protected Party resided within their own home and where a care regime had been established. A full judgment can be found by clicking on this link: Staffordshire County Council -v- SRK, RK, Irwin Mitchell Trust Corporation and the Secretary of State for Justice

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What are ‘Payroll Rates’ and which tasks are recovered at these rates?

We recently received an assessed bill of costs where the time claimed for work in relation to payroll had been reduced to £95.00 an hour. It seemed that the Costs Officer had allowed ‘Payroll Rates’ as opposed to the hourly rates allowed by the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO). On discussion with the Costs Officer, it transpired that solicitors recover the SCCO hourly rates for their professional skills as a Deputy. Where their job entails payroll tasks such as timesheets calculations, wages, national insurance and tax then this will be remunerated at Accountants Clerk’s rates. The Costs Officer advised that Accountants who are appointed as Deputy will often claim between £60.00 and £100.00 per hour rate for payroll related tasks. It was therefore concluded that £95.00 per hour was an appropriate rate for such work undertaken by Deputies.

It seems like ‘Payroll Rates’ are becoming a regular occurrence in Court of Protection bills and therefore it is important to bear these in mind whenever such tasks are undertaken.

If you require any further advice or assistance in relation to your Court of Protection costs, please do not hesitate to contact the Clarion Costs Team on COPCosts@clarionsolicitors.com or 0113 246 0622.

 

Litigation costs in Court of Protection bills – are these recoverable?

It is extremely common for Deputies to be involved in ongoing litigation claims for Protected Parties. Deputies often become involved in interim payment applications and are usually asked to disclose details of the Protected Party’s affairs to the litigation solicitor to assist with the Schedule of Loss and other documentation. The main question that needs to be answered however is whether these costs can be claimed within the general management bill of costs.

Unfortunately, the answer is no…

Master Haworth considered a bill of costs where the Deputy had incurred costs through communications with the litigation solicitor to outline the Protected Party’s affairs to assist with an ongoing litigation claim. Master Haworth disallowed the costs that related to the litigation claim and he stated that “where the Deputy is being asked to provide information and/or schedules and/or documentation to support an interim payment application in an ongoing litigation these are not general management charges”.    

Master Haworth directed the Deputy to withdraw their bill of costs and to re-submit a new bill of costs which did not include the litigation costs to allow him to solely assess the general management costs that had been incurred.

It is advisable that the Deputy’s costs which relate to the Protected Party’s litigation claim are not included within general management bills. Costs which relate to the litigation claim should be recovered within the litigation bill of costs. The Deputy should therefore outline their costs to the litigation solicitor to ensure that the costs are remunerated correctly.

If you require any further advice or assistance in relation to your Court of Protection costs, please do not hesitate to contact the Clarion Costs Team on COPCosts@clarionsolicitors.com or 0113 246 0622.

Can ‘City Rates’ be recovered within Court of Protection bills?

In short, the answer is maybe, but it depends on the complexity of the matter rather than the geographical area of the solicitor’s firm. It is important to note that London 1 rates (‘City rates’) do not work in the same way as the rest of the hourly rates allowed by the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO). Not only is a city post code (EC1 – 4) required but the work undertaken must be of exceptional substance. It is important to take into consideration the decisions made within the Matter of King –v- Telegraph (2005). Please see Paragraph 92 of the link below whereby Master Hurst stated:

“City rates for City solicitors are recoverable where the City solicitor is undertaking City work, which is normally heavy commercial or corporate work…A City firm which undertakes work, which could be competently handled by a number of Central London solicitors, is acting unreasonably and disproportionately if it seeks to charge City rates.”

King-v-Telegraph (City Rates)

Interestingly, the SCCO informed that most of the Costs Officers have never come across a case where ‘city rates’ have been allowed on a Court of Protection bill…

If you require any further advice or assistance in relation to your Court of Protection costs, please do not hesitate to contact the Clarion Costs Team on COPCosts@clarionsolicitors.com or 0113 246 0622.