As you are probably aware, the Master of the Rolls has approved the Civil Justice Council working group’s final report on guideline hourly rates, and the revised rates are expected to come into force on 1st October 2021.
The new rates are as follows :
There have been minor changes to the definitions to the geographical bandings. It should be noted that London 1 rates are now exclusively for ‘very heavy commercial and corporate work by centrally based London firms’ with all other work carried out within the old ‘London 1’ banding dropping down to the new London 2 rates.
As you will note, there are a number of differences between the new guideline hourly rates and the hourly rates set out as reasonable by Master Whalan in the case of PLK & Ors. This difference was considered by the Master of the Rolls and, unfortunately, he has concluded that the new guideline hourly rates should apply in Court of Protection cases and that the rates set out in PLK & Ors will no longer apply to work done after this date.
However, it should be noted that the revised Guide to the Summary Assessment of Costs specifically allows for the possibility of a significantly higher hourly rates for Grade A, B and C fee earners to reflect the level of complexity in specific cases. Therefore, if you have highly complex deputyships, it will be necessary to ensure that your retainer/client care letter allows for any such enhanced rates to avoid being limited by the indemnity principle.
We therefore suggest that now is probably a good time to consider your retainer/client care letters if you have them, and ensure that the same are updated to reflect the new guideline hourly rates.
Please also note that, on 30 September 2021, the fee for the assessment of Court of Protection bills increases from £85 to £87.
If you have any queries regarding the new hourly rates or otherwise, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Julie Fitzpatrick, Head of Private Client