1 December 2022
SCCO Inconsistencies Challenge
Author: Stephanie Kaye
The PDF were notified of a recent successful hearing outcome whereby R Costings challenged the payroll hourly rate. Judge Whalan awarded Grade D hourly rates at the hearing, increasing these from the £95 per hour rates previously awarded by the Costs Officer. Master Whalan confirmed that he would share the outcome with the Costs Officers and the PDF are hopeful that this decision should be reflected across other bills.
The PDF continue to raise multiple objections to SCCO inconsistencies and we encourage any Deputies or their COP teams to contact Stephanie Kaye directly with recent assessment outcomes which could be challenged by way of a hearing with support from the PDF.
Summary post Oral Hearing October 2022
Adrian Mundell, Ashtons Legal:
R Costings acted for Ashtons Legal in a recent oral hearing in front of Master Whalan to challenge a number of reductions made on assessment and maintained upon reconsideration request, addressing specifically issues of inconsistencies across assessments. Paul Reason of R Costings represented the Deputy, Adrian Mundell, at the hearing in relation to four separate general management bills of costs, with the preparation of costs by senior costs draftsman, Jenny Freeman and challenges overseen by head of the Court of Protection costs team, Kate Benn.
One of the specific challenges related to the inconsistency of the Court’s approach regarding the application of a “Payroll” rate typically awarded at an indiscriminate £95 per hour for work considered to be payroll in nature at assessment. The reduction had been applied to the correctly claimed Grade D guideline hourly rates (GHR) resulting in an automatic significant reduction per unit for time allowed. The second general argument raised related to drafting costs incurred and claimed and an arbitrary percentage application being awarded at assessment against profit costs.
At the hearing, the hourly rates were reinstated as claimed in accordance with the GHR in respect of all four matters. In respect of the drafting fees claimed, these were accepted as claimed and no percentage application was applied. It was commented that the fees claimed for preparation, were reasonable and what would be expected for the matters in front of the Court.
Master Whalan advised that there would be no written judgment in respect of these matters, and the issues formed part of the reconsiderations, but confirmed that the decisions made would be filtered down to the Costs Officers.