Award-winning Court of Protection Costs Specialists
We are sure many of you will have seen the recent case of Hadley -v- Przybylo  EWHC 1392 (KB) last week.
This short piece will be of interest to litigators, however, we have chosen to look at it from a slightly different point of view, that being of the deputy, given our practice deals solely with the recovery of Court of Protection costs.
This case involved a litigation case wherein issues around the budget needed to be settled. The claimant’s solicitors had included the costs of weekly meetings within their costs budget, which related to a complex Personal Injury claim.
The Master (Master McCloud) held that these costs were not recoverable, and further accepted the defendant’s argument that such costs were “non-progressive” to the case.
Further costs were detailed within the budget (both claimed and incurred) for time spent by the litigators attending on the professional deputies appointed.
Whilst the Master did not comment in detail with regard to the incurred time for these items (given these had been agreed between the parties), the decisions made in this case greatly impacted the future costs. Some £68,400 had been sought, comprising of some 60% in relation to the case management meetings and 20% for the meetings with the deputies.
The Master allowed just £20,000 for these costs. This was on the basis that “Having a fee earner attending rehabilitation costs management meetings is not progressive in the above sense and does not fall within the notion of “costs””. Further, “Likewise a fee earner attending on deputies so as to seek input into the ongoing drafting of the case in the form of the schedule, when deputies do not properly play a part in such work, is not progressive”.
Within the recovery of the Deputies’ Court of Protection costs, we often come up against two issues. The first is in relation to the recovery of the deputy’s time spent with the case manager. The Court of Protection Section at the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) is often reluctant to allow vast amounts of costs for the deputy liaising with the case manager, on the basis that the case manager is there to mitigate such costs.
Further, it can sometimes be difficult to recover the costs of the deputy attending on litigators. (The 2014 of Hewitt and Dowman confirm that such costs belong in the litigation bill).
It appears to us that such costs are risk at falling between the jurisdictions (i.e. those of the Civil Courts and those of the Court of Protection).
What can we do to ensure these costs are recovered?
As deputy, I would urge you to think very carefully about the work being undertaken with the case manager and/or litigator. Ensure that you carefully consider P’s best interests, whether your attendance at a meeting is required and what the purposes of your attendance is. It will be necessary to fully justify any such time to ensure it is recovered.
It will be interesting to see whether the parties in Hadley -v- Przybylo will seek to appeal the decision. It has been remarked upon that other Judges have taken an opposing view to that detailed above and recent CJC consultations have suggested a separate phases be introduced for “Rehabilitation Costs”.
Whatever the outcome, there are certainly going to be some interesting challenges ahead, which we will be sure to monitor carefully.
We do hope you will have found this short article to be of interest. Should you have any queries in relation to this or any other costs-related matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Need assistance? Let’s have a chat!