Click here to view the full text of our November “Costs Alerter” in which we consider the decision in PLK & Ors in which the SCCO has directed that guideline hourly rates (“GHR”) plus an empirical uplift to reflect the incidence of inflation (between 2010, when GHR were last reviewed, and 2020) should be used for assessments of Bills of Costs in the Court of Protection (“COP”).
The SCCO has not revised the GHR (and it was at pains to stress that it has no power to do so) but has given a direction, to be adopted immediately, to Costs Officers conducting COP assessments that if the rates claimed fall within approximately 120% of the 2010 GHR, then they should be regarded as being prima facie reasonable.
The Working Group set up to consider GHR, chaired by Mr Justice Stewart QC, is currently gathering evidence which will inform its recommendations to the Master of the Rolls (which may be made as soon as this year). The SCCO said that the direction in PLK & Ors “is subject ultimately to the recommendations of Mr Justice Stewart and his Hourly Rates Working Group and the Civil Justice Council”.
We shall watch this space!