The Ministry of Justice has introduced a refund scheme relating to court fees, including the Court of Protection. For the Court of Protection, the scheme relates to those who paid court fees between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2018 for:
In addition, if you paid a hearing fee between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018, you may also be eligible for a refund.
For more details, see here. and the guidance document here.
Queries regarding the scheme should be directed to the helpdesk as follows:
Telephone: 0300 1233077
Professional Deputies are entitled to general management costs which are reasonable and proportionate to the total value of the client’s estate. The amount of work done and that any work done should be done by the appropriate fee earner. Last but not least, the professional deputy is required to demonstrate they are acting in their client’s best interests. Professional Deputies who are appointed by the Court of Protection are required to submit estimates of costs and bills for assessment at the end of a reporting period.
From Monday 20 January 2020, deputies are required to send a Bill of Costs, N258 and authority to assess (deputyship order) through the e-filing system in PDF Format.
Bills of costs submitted in paper form will be rejected by the Senior Courts Cost Office (SCCO) after this date. Any files submitted after this date in paper form will be returned.
How to E-File
To E-File, your firm should register as a user on the E-Filer system using an email address and password.
You can register by clicking here – scroll to the bottom of the page and select register as an e-filer.
Guidance on the SCCO e-filing system works is here.
Guidance from the HMCTs is also available here.
Costs that can be claimed
Practice Direction 19B sets out the fixed costs that may be claimed by solicitors and office holders in public authorities appointed to act as deputy for P.
You can find the Practice Direction here.
Payment can no longer be made to the SCCO by way of cheque. The firm must have a PBA or debit payment facility.
To find out more about applying for PBA accounts click here.
[This post was written for us by Hannah Nicholas, @thecapacitycat]
The Vice-President of the Court of Protection, Hayden J, sent a letter on 26 November 2019 to other judges of the Court of Protection, reproduced here, in which he noted that:
One of my most surprising discoveries on becoming V.P. was that the Court of Protection did not have a clearly structured system for administration of appeals. The route by which cases came to be heard on appeal was haphazard and inconsistent. Some appeals simply got lost and others took an unconscionable time to reach a hearing.
The letter sets out the internal procedure for appeals, in particular, for appeals from Tier 2 (i.e. Circuit Judges) to Tier 3 (High Court judges).
The Practice Direction governing appeals, PD20A, can be found here.
The first quarterly update to the Court of Protection Handbook can now be found here. Although it is primarily of use for those in possession of the Third Edition (and if you are not, you should be!) it is also of use as a summary of case-law relating to practice and procedure since the book was published in July 2019.
With huge thanks to Michelle Pratley, the site now also includes a fully updated and comprehensive sample letter of instruction to a psychiatrist to report upon decision-making capacity in a number of domain, together with a letter completed upon the basis of a (fictional scenario).
An important pilot to encourage and evaluate the use of mediation in the Court of Protection will go live from 1 October 2019.
You can find out more here. Mediation can bring many benefits and we look forward to hearing more during the course of the pilot and its evaluation.
The 3rd edition of the Court of Protection Handbook is now published, with the addition of Nicola Mackintosh QC (Hon) to the team of Kate Edwards, Professor Anselm Eldergill, and Sophy Miles. The book addresses in detail the practice and processes of the Court of Protection – across the whole range of its work – in terms that are aimed not only at lawyers but also to the increasing numbers of people who either by choice or otherwise are involved in proceedings before the Court of Protection without legal help.
The book begins with an overview of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Court of Protection, before turning to a step-by-step guide through the processes of preparing and making an application, funding and representation issues, preparing for and appearing at hearings, evidence, costs, enforcement and appeals.
The third edition has been fully updated and includes coverage of the Liberty Protection Safeguards introduced by the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019. The accompanying website can be found here.
Practitioners are informed that from today 22 July 2019, the following fees will apply:
Application fee (currently £385) will reduce to £365.
Appeal fee (currently £320) reducing to £230.
Hearing fee (currently £500) reducing to £485.
You can read the order here.