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PAS FAQ: How binding are my costs estimates?

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How far can the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) exceed a costs estimate? The Law Society’s Practice Advice Service explains.

I act as a professional deputy and have just submitted a bill to the SCCO for a detailed assessment. The costs claimed in the bill are higher than those contained in the estimate of costs that I submitted to the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). Are the estimates provided binding on my firm or does the SCCO have any discretion to exceed the costs estimate?

The estimate is not binding and the SCCO does have discretion to exceed any estimate outlined in the professional deputy fees insert (Form OPG105). However, if the costs claimed are 20 per cent or more above the estimate, you will need to provide reasons to the SCCO for the difference between the estimated costs and the costs claimed in the bill.

When acting as a professional deputy, solicitors should always alert the OPG at the earliest opportunity if their fees are likely to be 20 per cent or more above those contained in the estimate.

In July 2016 the OPG and the SCCO produced a joint good practice guide entitled Professional deputy costs.

This FAQ is compiled by the Law Society’s Practice Advice Service, telephone 0207 320 5675. Comments relating to it should be sent to Mrs Anjali Mouelhi, Practice Advice Service Manager, The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in the FAQ, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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