As many practitioners will be aware of, the assessment of Court of Protection bills has been somewhat of an issue in the last 12 months+. There have been significant delays in the processing side and the actual assessment of the bills. However, the Court have been pro-active in trying to keep everyone up to date with their service user updates.
Whilst we all live in hope that at some point, the service user updates will no longer be required, for the moment they are providing a fairly accurate guide as to the position and queue length.
The latest update we have, details that Costs Officers are currently being assigned bills for which supporting papers were received around the beginning of June.
With regards to e-filings, those that have been submitted – but have not yet been accepted or rejected are being worked on with the latest filings submitted around the 2nd week of December.
The admin team are currently dispatching assessed bills returned by the Costs Officers in the 2nd week of January.
In terms of Final Costs Certificates, the Court advised that they are working on certificates submitted during the 2nd week of December.
Subsequently, we are currently looking at around a 6 month delay on bills being assessed, which whilst is an improvement on previous backlogs, is still quite a significant delay. We understand that the OPG in some cases, have been raising queries regarding delays and generally practitioners have been providing them with the filing confirmations which they have accepted as evidence that the costs element had been progressed as much as possible.