Legal Cost Specialists

Posts made in December, 2020

2020 Guideline Hourly Rates

By on Dec 9, 2020 | 1 comment

The problem with the 2020 Guideline Hourly Rates is that there aren’t any.  Because nature abhors a vacuum, the judiciary has been taking steps to fill the void. In PLK & Ors (Court of Protection : Costs) [2020] EWHC B28 (Costs), Master Whalan gave guidance as to the appropriate hourly rate for Deputies in Court of Protection matters.  Pending the outcome of the ongoing formal review into Guideline Hourly Rates, he concluded that Costs Officers in the SCCO should allow uplifts to GHRs of approximately 20%: “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, no doubt, other commercial pressures since the last formal review in 2010.  I am conscious equally of the fact that I have no power to review or amend the GHR.  Accordingly my finding and, in turn, my direction to Costs Officers conducting COP assessments is that they should exercise some broad, pragmatic flexibility when applying the 2010 GHR to the hourly rates claimed.  If the hourly rates claimed fall within approximately 120% of the 2010 GHR, then they should be regarded as being prima facie reasonable.  Rates claimed above this level will be correspondingly unreasonable. To assist with the practical conduct of COP assessments, I produce a table below which demonstrates the effect of a 20% uplift of the 2010 GHR.  I stress again that I do not purport to revise the GHR, as this court has no power to do so; instead this is a practical attempt to assist Costs Officers and avoid unnecessary delay” Now, in the case of Cohen v Fine & Ors [2020] EWHC 3278 (Ch) a High Court judge has suggested that GHRs should be uplifted by 35%: “In my experience of sitting in the Business & Property Courts, both in the North-West and in the Rolls Building, the present Guideline Hourly Rates are considerably below the rates actually being charged by the solicitors who practise in those courts. Likewise, the Table of Counsel’s Fees bears no relationship to the fees which the courts see being charged for counsel appearing in the Business & Property Courts. In my judgment, pending the...

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