Clarion helps champion improved hourly rates for Court of Protection lawyers in landmark victory after 10-year freeze on income

Leeds law firm Clarion has helped to win a landmark case that will result in a significant change to national guideline hourly rates for Court of Protection lawyers. After 10 years with no pay rise, the judgment has been widely welcomed by professionals throughout the UK.

Following a Hearing on 26 May 2020, the judgment by Master Whalan was handed down today (30th September), indicating a 20% increase to the rates payable in Court of Protection (COP) cases, following a case supported by Stephanie Kaye who heads up Clarion’s Court of Protection Costs team.

The case was brought by four professional deputies from four different law firms, namely Wrigleys Solicitors, Freeths LLP, Boyes Turner LLP and Gillhams Solicitors, with assistance from the Professional Deputies Forum and its members, who acted collectively to bring the issue before the Senior Courts Costs Office, highlighting that the Guideline Hourly Rates (GHR) had not changed for 10 years, but factors like inflation, increasing workload and growing responsibility on professional deputies, had caused concern about the sustainability of Court of Protection work. Clarion prepared the four bills of costs for submission, claiming the GHR of 2010 plus a percentage uplift to reflect RPI inflation (of approximately 31%) between 2010 and 2019.

Stephanie comments: “This outcome is very welcome news for COP practitioners, providing overdue ratification for the vital work they conduct. Importantly, the outcome will mean that this crucial area of work continues to be sustainable.

“We are proud to have been a part of this case. It was a huge team effort to reach this outcome and we will be applying a 20% uplift to all bills of costs going forward.”

Master Whalan concluded in his judgment, “I am satisfied that in 2020 the GHR cannot be applied reasonably or equitably without some form of monetary uplift that recognises the erosive effect of inflation” and provides a suitable table of the GHR with a 20% uplift.