New Practice Directions and replacements to the Court of Protection Rules were made with effect from the 1 July 2015. Changes to existing Court of Protection forms were made and some new forms were created, as a result of the Court of Protection (Amendment) Rules 2015.
Updates to Practice Direction 19B supplementing Part 19 of the Court of Protection Rules 2007 have now also been proposed. These are still in draft form and have not yet been implemented. The proposed changes include increased fixed costs, in line with the Consumer Pricing Index.
Below is a summary of the potential key changes:-
Paragraph 6: This has been amended and now states that the OPG will ask professional deputies to estimate the amount of activity they anticipate being carried out on a case in the coming period, and the cost attendant on that. This amendment has been made in light of the changes to the OPG annual report form (which was introduced on 1 March 2016). This section goes onto confirm that the estimate will be shared with the SCCO at the same time as the deputy submits their costs for assessment. The OPG will also compare the actual fees incurred, as stated in the annual report, back to the plan and engage with the SCCO if and when necessary.
Paragraph 7: Fixed costs have been increased as follows:-
Category I - appointment of a deputy
£850.00 (plus VAT)
£943.00 (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)
£427.00 (plus VAT)
Category III – First year of deputyship
£1,500.00 (plus VAT)
£1,665.00 (plus VAT)
Category III - Second and subsequent years
£1,185.00 (plus VAT)
£1,315.00 (plus VAT)
P’s net assets are below £16,000.00 – 4.5% of P’s net assets may be taken for annual general management
P’s net assets are below £21,000.00 – 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)
£261.00 (plus VAT)
Category VI – Preparation of HMRC income tax return
£235.00 (plus VAT)
£261.00 (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 £388 and a maximum of £1,665, plus disbursements
Important note:- previously, where P’s net assets were below £16,000.00, you would take 4.5% of P’s net assets on the anniversary of the court order appointing the professional as deputy. If the Practice Direction is amended, as proposed, this will increase to £21,000.00. Please note, that Paragraph 11 states that where fixed costs are not appropriate the deputy may, if preferred, apply to the SCCO for the assessment of costs. However, this will not apply where P’s net assets are below £21,000.00. In which case, the option for detailed assessment will only arise if the court makes a specific order for detailed assessment in relation to an estate with net assets of a value less than £21,000.00.
Therefore, in any cases where P's net assets are below £21,000.00, it will be necessary to take fixed costs of 4.5% of P’s net assets, rather than having the costs assessed by the SCCO.
Of course, the changes detailed above have not yet been implemented and, for the time being, it will be necessary to continue complying with the current fixed costs and rules.
Paragon Costs Solutions will keep you updated and also 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.