Page 20 - PIC Magazine Issue 21
P. 20

     COP COST
THE APPEAL PROCESS THEN AND NOW!
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                           n this latest COP costs update, I will be taking a nostalgic look at the informal appeal process and comparing it with today’s procedures. This piece will be of interest to both Court of Protection Deputies and those assisting professional deputies alike. I aim to provide some useful tips, which may come in handy post-assessment, particularly if you are not happy with the assessment, or elements of the assessment.
For those readers who do not know me, I have been dealing with Court of Protection costs for over 17 years (since 2006). During that time, I have had cause to appeal many an assessment, or elements thereof. I will be taking a look at the process that has evolved over the years and explore the differences in procedure back then and today.
I do hope you will find this article interesting and useful.
Informal Appeals
Days Gone By
I think the fifirst thing to say here is that there is no formal appeal process in relation to an initial appeal back to the assessing Costs Officer. The process that has emerged over the years is
relatively informal, although, as will be seen later,
is becoming more formal.
As you will no doubt be aware, the
process is for the bill to be drafted,
signed off once you are happy with
everything and then this is sent to
the court for assessment. Back in the
day, if an assessment took more than
around three weeks, one felt hard done by!
The bill would be assessed, returned with your papers and we would have to re-calculate the fifigures allowed and see what the outcome was.
If we were unhappy with any part of the assessment, we were able to write to the Costs Officer, who assessed the bill, and ask
Paul Cruickshanks, Head of Court of Protection at
A&M Bacon.
BEAR IN MIND THAT YOU WILL NEED TO INSTRUCT YOUR DRAFTSMAN ON THE AREAS OF THE ASSESSMENT TO BE APPEALED AND GIVE THEM SUFFICIENT TIME TO DRAFT AN APPROPRIATE LETTER OF APPEAL.
them to reconsider the same. Usually, this would involve providing some further information to the Costs Officer. As you can imagine, it was, and still is, a bit of an uphill battle to get the assessing officer to depart from their original decision.
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TIP!
If you can provide additional information and/or evidence as to the work that was undertaken, that may assist in ensuring additional sums are recovered.
In the past, and notwithstanding
the information contained on the Notice of Provisional Assessment,
          that any party wishing to be heard on assessment must make a request within 14
days, the SCCO seemed more than willing to reconsider an assessment, even if submitted outside this 14-day period (within reason of course). The time taken for the re-assessment would vary, dependant on the Costs Officer’s case load and availability, but would usually be back within a few weeks.
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