The Guideline Rates 10 years on, and how to make the most of them

It is 10 years since the SCCO last increased the guideline hourly rates. Andrew McAulay looks at the rates, and how you can make the most of them.

Andrew McAulay is a Costs Lawyer and Partner at Clarion. You can contact him at AndrewMcAulay@clarionsolicitors.com or by phone on 0113 336 3334.

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.

 

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.