In June 2016, I prepared an article advising on the proposed updates to Practice Direction 19B, supplementing Part 19 of the Court of Protection Rules 2007 (http://www.paragoncosts.com/site/blog/paragon-blog/proposed-updates-to-practice-direction-19b). Practitioners may be relieved to hear that the Court of Protection has now updated its Practice Direction, with fixed costs being increased accordingly (some of which to a figure slightly higher than those proposed). The increased fixed costs apply to any matters where the period covered by the category of fixed costs or remuneration ends on or after 1 April 2017. However, the old Practice Direction applies to any matters where the period covered by the category of fixed costs or remuneration ended before 1 April 2017.
Below is a summary of the changes:-
Paragraph 6 – professional deputies who elect for detailed assessment of annual management charges may take payments on account for the first three quarters of the year, which are proportionate and reasonable taking into account the size of the estate and the functions they have performed. Interim quarterly bills must not exceed 25% (75% for the whole year) of the estimated annual management charges - this has increased from 20% (being 60% for the whole year).
Paragraph 7 – confirms that the OPG will ask professional deputies to estimate the amount of activity they anticipate being required on a case in the coming period, and the costs attendant on that. Of course, this is the OPG105 form which must be submitted when sending the bill for assessment.
Fixed costs to be taken by professional deputies have increased as follows:-
Matters with a period ending prior to 1 April 2017
Maters with a period ending on or after 1 April 2017
Category I - appointment of a deputy
£850.00 (plus VAT)
£950.00 (plus VAT)
Category II - applications under s36(9) or 54 of the Trustee Act 1925 or s20 of the Trusts of Land and appointment of Trustees Act 1996 for the appointment of a trustee in the place of P and applications under section 18(1)(j) of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for authority to exercise any power vested in P, whether beneficially, or as trustee, or otherwise
£385.00 (plus VAT)
£500.00 (plus VAT)
Category III (a) – First year of deputyship
£1,500.00 (plus VAT)
£1,670.00 (plus VAT)
Category III (b) - Second and subsequent years
£1,185.00 (plus VAT)
£1,320.00 (plus VAT)
Category III (c)
P’s net assets are below £16,000.00 – 4.5% of P’s net assets may be taken for annual general management
Category IV - for Health and Welfare deputyship
The deputy may take an annual management fee not exceeding 2.5% of P’s net assets on the anniversary of the court order appointing the professional as deputy for health and welfare up to a maximum of £500.00.
The deputy may take an annual management fee not exceeding 2.5% of P’s net assets on the anniversary of the court order appointing the professional as deputy for health and welfare up to a maximum of £555.00.
Category V - Preparation of and lodgement of annual deputyship report
£235.00 (plus VAT)
£265.00 (plus VAT)
Category VI (a) – Preparation of a Basic HMRC income tax return (bank or NS&I interest and taxable benefits, discretionary trust or estate income)
£235.00 (plus VAT)
£250.00 (plus VAT)
Category VI (b) – Preparation of a Complex HMRC income tax return (bank or NS&I interest, multiple investment portfolios, taxable benefits, one or more rental properties)
£600.00 (plus VAT)
Category VII – Conveyancing costs
a value element of 0.15% of the consideration with a minimum sum of £350 and a maximum of £1,500, plus disbursements
a value element of 0.15% of the consideration with a minimum sum of £400 and a maximum of £1,670, plus disbursements
In addition to the above, an increase has been made to fixed costs which may be taken by public authority deputies.
The following paragraphs have also been added:-
Paragraph 19 – which states that where public authorities outsource deputyship work, it is expected that the rates charged will be no more than that which would have been charged to the client if the public authority had remained deputy.
Paragraph 20 – public authorities can use P’s funds to pay for specialist services (i.e. conveyancing, obtaining expert evaluations and obtaining investment advice).
Paragraph 21 - which states that public authority and other third sector deputies are allowed the fixed rate of £40 per hour for travel costs.
The new Practice Direction can be found here (https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/practice-direction-b-fixed-costs-in-the-court-of-protection-01-17.pdf). Paragon Costs Solutions have a wealth of experience in dealing with a variety of Court of Protection cases. Therefore, should you require any assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us.