Court of Protection costs can be complex and time consuming for lawyers to deal with. We are always available to our clients to provide advice and assistance where required. This section is designed as a go to guide on the basics of Court of Protection costing.
Court of Protection Deputies
What is a Court of Protection Deputy?
A Deputy is a person appointed to take decisions in the place of a person who is unable to do so themselves. A Deputy is usually a friend or relative of a person who lacks capacity but a professional Deputy (usually a lawyer or accountant) can be appointed. Professional Deputies can be remunerated for the work they do. The general rule is that, where a professional Deputy is appointed to deal with property and affairs, the costs of doing so shall be paid by the person or his/her estate. Where a professional Deputy is appointed to deal with personal welfare, the general rule is that there will be no order for costs.
How does a professional Deputy obtain an order for costs?
An application must be made to the Office of the Public Guardian for an order appointing the Deputy and it is usual practice where such an order is made for a Deputy to deal with property and affairs that the order includes provision for the costs to be the subject of a detailed assessment in the Court of Protection.
Does that mean that I have to have my costs assessed in all circumstances?
Not in all circumstances, Fixed Costs are available in certain circumstances and are detailed below:
There are a number of instances where fixed costs can be claimed for work done in Court of Protection proceedings:
Category I (Applies to all orders appointing a Deputy for property and affairs made on or after 1 April 2017):
Work up to and including the date upon which the Court makes an order appointing a Deputy for property and affairs -
An amount not exceeding £950.00 plus VAT
Category II (Applies to all applications for the appointment of a new trustee made on or after 1 April 2017):
Applications under sections 36 (9) or 54 of the Trustee Act 1925 or section 20 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 for the appointment of a new trustee in the place of 'P' and applications under section 18(1)(j) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for authority to exercise any power vested in P, whether beneficially, or as trustee, or otherwise -
An amount not exceeding £500.00 plus VAT
Category III (Applies to all annual management fees for anniversaries falling on or after 1 January 2017):
Maximum Amounts -
Annual management fee where the Court appoints a professional Deputy for property and affairs, payable on the anniversary of the Court order -
a) For the first year: An amount not exceeding £1670.00 plus VAT
b) For the second and subsequent years: An amount not exceeding £1320.00 plus VAT
c) Where the net assets of P are below £16,000.00, the professional deputy for property and affairs may take an annual management fee not exceeding 4.5% of P's net assets on the anniversary of the Court order appointing the professional as Deputy.
Category IV (Applies to all annual management fees for anniversaries falling on or after 1 January 2017):
Where the Court appoints a professional Deputy for health and welfare, the Deputy may take an annual management fee not exceeding 2.5% of P's net assets on the anniversary of the Court order appointing the professional as Deputy for health and welfare up to a maximum of £555.00.
Category V (Applies to reports or accounts lodged on or after 1 April 2017):
Preparation and lodgement of a report or an account to the Public Guardian -
An amount not exceeding £265.00 plus VAT
Category VI (Applies to all HMRC returns made on or after 1 April 2017):
a) Preparation of a Basic HMRC income tax return (bank or NS & I interest and taxable benefits, discretionary trust or estate income) on behalf of P -
An amount not exceeding £250.00 plus VAT
b) Preparation of a Complex HMRC income tax return (bank or NS & I interest, multiple investment portfolios, taxable benefits, one or more rental properties) on behalf of P -
An amount not exceeding £600.00 plus VAT
Detailed Assessment of Costs
What if my costs exceed the applicable amount of fixed costs?
In those circumstances, you can apply to have your costs assessed in the SCCO. However, this will not be possible where P's assets are below £16,000.00 unless the Court makes a specific order for detailed assessment.
How do I go about preparing a claim for costs?
That's where we come in. We can prepare a bill of costs or a short form bill for submission to the SCCO on your behalf. If the claim for costs is under £3000.00 then a short form bill is prepared. We charge £110.00 plus VAT for this service. A detailed bill of costs is required for costs exceeding £3000.00 and we charge £110.00 per hour for provision of a bill of costs.
Sextons Legal Costs Limited is a company registered in England and Wales under company number 9997481. Registered Address: Towngate House, 2-8 Parkstone Road, Poole, BH15 2PW.