Practice Direction 19B – Fixed Costs and Deputy Remuneration in the Court of Protection

When does the Practice Direction apply?

This Practice Direction takes effect from 1 April 2024 and applies to matters in which the fixed costs or remuneration period, ends on or after 1 April 2024. However, if you are a Deputy allowed to charge, you should still claim rates according to the previous Practice Directions and Practice Notes if the period covered ends before April 1, 2024.

Payments in advance of Assessment

If a professional Deputy opts for a detailed assessment of annual management charges, they can receive payments in advance for the year, but these payments should be fair and proportionate to the estate's size and the tasks performed.

A Deputy can issue interim bills as long as the total does not exceed 75% of the work completed or 75% of the estimated charges, whichever is lower. These interim bills should not be sent to the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO).

At the end of the year, the Deputy must submit the final bill to the SCCO for assessment, adjusting it to account for any advance payments. If they have been paid too much, they must reimburse the estate within 28 days of receiving the final costs certificate.

Estimated work to be undertaken

As part of their supervision process, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) will request Professional Deputies to estimate the expected activity and costs for upcoming periods in their cases. If the actual time spent is projected to exceed the estimate by more than 20%, the Deputy must provide a revised estimate to the OPG. This updated estimate should also be shared with the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) when submitting costs for assessment.

Solicitors Costs in Court Proceedings

Revised fixed costs are established for Solicitors, trust corporations regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Chartered Legal Executives, and other Deputies with Court authorization to claim Solicitors' rates. These fixed costs are categorised as follows:

  • Category I: Covers work until the Court appoints a Deputy for property and affairs, with a maximum amount of £1,204 plus VAT.
  • Category II: Applies to applications for appointing a new trustee or authorising the exercise of powers vested in 'P' under specific sections of relevant acts, with a maximum of £633 plus VAT.
  • Category III: Applicable to applications made by existing deputies under specified Practice Direction, with a maximum of £633 plus VAT.

These fixed costs apply to respective actions made on or after April 1, 2024.

Remuneration of Solicitors Appointed as Deputy for P

The below fixed rates apply when the Court appoints certain professionals as deputies, such as solicitors, trust corporations regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, Chartered Legal Executives, and other Deputies authorised to claim solicitors' rates. The rates are categorized as follows:

  • Category IV: Annual management fee for professional deputies appointed for property and affairs, with the fee varying for the first year (£2,116.00 plus VAT) and subsequent years (£1,672 plus VAT). Where P’s assets are below £20,300.00 a Deputy may not take a fee exceeding 4.5% of P’s net assets.
  • Category V: Annual management fee for professional deputies appointed for health and welfare, not exceeding 2.5% of P's net assets on the anniversary of the court order, up to a maximum of £703.
  • Category VI: Fee for preparing and lodging reports or accounts to the Public Guardian, not exceeding £336 (plus VAT).
  • Category VII: Fee for preparing basic HMRC income tax returns (bank or NS&I Interest and taxable benefits, discretionary trust or estate income) on behalf of P, not exceeding £317 (plus VAT)

Cost of Specialist Services (Conveyancing, Tax Returns etc…)

The Deputy can use P's funds for specialist services like conveyancing or complex tax returns, which P would typically cover if they had capacity.

When selecting their own practice for such services, they must obtain three quotes, including one from their own practice, and decide which is in P's best interests, as per Judge Hilder's guidance in Re ACC [2020] EWCOP 9. If the Deputy's practice quotes over £2,000 (plus VAT and disbursements), Court approval is necessary before proceeding with the work. All decisions and quotes should be included in the Deputy's report to the OPG.

Public Authorities Costs

There have been several updates regarding costs concerning public authorities. These include fixed rates for public authority deputies appointed by the court, covering different categories such as property and affairs management, trustee appointments, and existing Deputy applications. For instance, there are specifications for annual management fees for public authority deputies, varying for the first and subsequent years, and depending on P's net assets.

Additionally, the guidelines discuss outsourcing Deputyship work by public authorities, emphasising that charges should align with what the authority would charge if performing the work itself. Public authorities can also use P's funds for specialist services like conveyancing and tax returns, and, where in P's best interests, for asset searches and safeguarding affairs.


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