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Written on 1st October 2020 by

The Senior Court Costs Office today confirmed that Court of Protection lawyers are entitled to claim increased rates. Until now, these specialist lawyers were paid at rates set in 2010.

Alexander Wright, professional deputy for property and affairs at Boyes Turner, was a lead applicant in the appeal, where it was argued that if lawyers continued to receive rates set in 2010 this area of law may not survive in years to come.

Alexander specialises in preparing experts reports on costs for deputies during litigation and manages the finances for clients with brain injuries. He is a director of the Professional Deputies Forum, a key player in the case.

The recent judgment in PLK & Ors was handed down on 30 September 2020. Alexander is Deputy for PLK. Alexander summarises the outcome:

"As a member of the Professional Deputies Forum we asked Brown Shipley investment managers for a report. They worked out that inflation between 2010 and 2020 was 31% at RPI. Inflation at CPI was 21%. It was obviously unsustainable to work at rates set 10 years ago.

He added,

The judgement in PLK recognises that the guideline hourly rates haven’t been reviewed in 10 years, and that the failure to review the rates “threatens the viability of work that is fundamental to the operation of the [Court of Protection] and the court system generally”.

Whilst the guidelines rates are being reviewed the judge has provided guidance that rates that are 20% above the 2010 rates are reasonable. 

Alexander, the Professional Deputies Forum and the cost draftsman team at Clarion Solicitors organised an appeal of the rates. 

He commented,

"I’m a Deputy for so many wonderful people and I was concerned that in future the talent to do this work may not be available if law firms couldn’t support 2010 rates. I was writing reports on costs nearly every week stating that deputies are paid in line with 2010 rates. I was waiting and waiting for something to change, but it didn’t happen and I became concerned that my chosen practice area was going to collapse.

This is great result for Court of Protection lawyers. The rates we are allowed are now fair again. Now we need to await the findings of the Hourly Rates Working Group and the Civil Justice Council who are currently reviewing the guideline rates”.