Page 18 - PIC-Magazine-Issue-22-Spring-Summer
P. 18

                               Paul Cruickshanks, Head of Court of Protection at A&M Bacon.
Regular readers will no doubt be familiar with my Court of Protection (COP) Costs Round Ups! Here I will summarise some of the latest developments and trends arising from the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO), as well as hopefully providing some decent insight and tips as to how you
can maximise your recovery. This article will be useful to professional deputies, along with those who work for and assist a professional deputy.
2024 Guideline Hourly Rates
Or perhaps, more accurately, enhancements to the 2021 Guideline Hourly Rates (GHRs). It has long been recognised that an uplift to reflect inflation should be applied to solicitors’ hourly rates and following the review back in 2021, this has now been applied to the 2021 GHRs. Please see below for details of the new rates applicable from 1 January 2024:-
 Grade A
Grade B
Grade C
Grade D
London 1* London 3 National 2
£546 (£512) £301 (£282) £272 (£255)
£371 (£348) £247 (£232) £233 (£218)
£288 (£270) £197 (£185) £189 (£177)
£198 (£186) £138 (£129) £134 (£126)
 London 2
  £398 (£373
  £308 (£289)
  £260 (£244)
  £148 (£139)
   National 1
  £278 (£261)
  £233 (£218)
  £190 (£178)
  £134 (£126)
  Grade A = Solicitors and legal executives with over 8 years’ PQE
Grade B = Solicitors and legal executives with over 4 years’ PQE
Grade C = Other solicitors or legal executives and fee earners of equivalent experience
Grade D = Trainee solicitors, paralegals, and other fee earners
*Note – London 1 is reserved for “heavy commercial litigation” work.
We should see these rates being “enhanced” further on an annual basis. It is pleasing to see a pragmatic and flexible approach being adopted, to ensure we do not suffer the erosion of inflation, as happened when the 2010 GHRs were in force for over ten years.
On a practical level, however, our advice is to ensure your client care letters are updated annually, and in accordance with the inflationary rises. Master James is of the firm view that if one is guarantee recovery of the appropriate hourly rates, one should detail the rates fully, as set out above, as opposed to merely stating that the rates are subject to enhancements in line with inflation. This reduces any ambiguity and ensures your client is fully aware of the hourly rates being utilised. This will also help to reduce any points of dispute should a matter become contentious for any reason.
As per the note above, in our experience, it is difficult to recover London 1 rates for Court of Protection work. However, we often successfully recover London 2 rates for those firms that sit within the band area.
 Things have moved on a great deal over the past few years, particularly following the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the SCCO, for the first time, inviting files to be provided in support of the assessment in electronic format.
18 INDUSTRY EXPERTS Partners In Costs

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