Page 29 - PIC Magazine Autumn Issue 16
P. 29

 We submit numerous bills for assessment each year and are careful to monitor the outcomes following assessment, which enables us to see the nature of the reductions made by the costs officers and recognise any trends.
3 Time spent on annual deputyship reports
We often see many hours of time claimed for drafting annual deputyship reports. However, we do not always know why such high claims of time are made. It is worthwhile bearing
in mind the costs officer will not
know your file as well as you do.
It is always worthwhile detailing, particularly where additional time is spent, additional information relating to the work undertaken, the value of the estate (and funds being accounted for) and the number of documents considered (even if online).
We are appreciative of the fact that detailed and complete information
has to be provided to the OPG and clients’ estates can be complex and valuable. We are of no doubt that
the time claimed is required and to ensure this time is recovered, the more information that can be provided to the costs officer the better.
A great example we had recently was working for a client who had taken over the deputyship from a lay deputy. The record keeping of the lay deputy was, shall we say, below par and therefore, further work in putting P’s accounts
in order was required. Had this been drawn to the attention of the court,
the additional time claimed will have been allowed. It was necessary for us to appeal to the court for reconsideration of the reductions made to the time spent in preparing the reports and when we advised the court of the difficulties in preparing the same (due to the previous administration of P’s affairs) the court allowed the majority of time claimed. Autumn 2020
5 Time reduced or disallowed for lack
of an attendance note
We are not in any doubt whatsoever that the court does
not have the time or resource to
go through each and every file
note when assessing your bill of costs. However, there is always the chance the costs officer will want to view any given attendance note to confirm the work undertaken and assess the same. Should there not be a supporting note, there is a very strong chance your time will be heavily reduced or disallowed if the note cannot be located. Indeed we have seen items disallowed with a comment along the lines of “no attendance note”.
It is therefore very important
to ensure that i) all attendance notes for ALL work on the file are present and ii) they are filed in chronological order to enable the costs officer to easily access them (they will likely not spend time trying to locate a note that has been filed in the wrong place).
We ensure, when drafting all bills of costs, that any missing notes are brought to your attention prior to assessment. This ensures you are able to locate the contemporaneous file note so it can be included within your file for the assessment.
I hope you will have picked up some useful pointers from this article.
Letters in
The time spent for reading and reviewing letters
received is not normally allowed by the court. This is down to
the provisions of Section 5.22 (1) of the Costs Practice Direction supplementing CPR Part 47.6, which states:
“Routine letters out, routine e-mails out and routine telephone calls will in general
be allowed on a unit basis of 6 minutes each, the charge being calculated by reference to the appropriate hourly rate. The unit charge for letters out and e-mails out will include perusing and considering the routine letters in or e-mails in.”
If you are required to consider documents that are lengthier and more complex in their nature, we would recommend drafting
a separate attendance note and record the work as consideration time of that particular issue. This is much more likely to be allowed by the court. If you also provide the court with details of the length of the document, this will be really useful in justifying the time spent.
Paul Cruickshanks Court of Protection Specialist at A&M Bacon.

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