A costs master has made a landmark decision to uplift four costs bills claimed for Court of Protection (CoP) work in PLK & Ors, opening the way for uplift on CoP guideline hourly rates

The application was made by four different firms who argued that the 2010 guideline hourly rates (GHR) did not recognise the specialism of the work or high overheads, and also that the rates did not reflect inflation in the past 10 years.

Following a hearing in May 2020, Master Whalan stressed that he was not able to change the rates – only the Civil Justice Council had that power – but he could establish the court’s approach to guideline rates. He rejected the argument that costs burdens were any higher in CoP work, but did accept that rates should be subject to “some form of periodic, upwards review”.

The master approved costs higher than the GHR in all four cases, and produced a table for future guidance applying a 20% uplift on 2010 figures (see below). 

Guideline hourly rates
BandsABCD

London 1

£490

£355

£271

£165

London 2

£380

£290

£235

£151

London 3

£275-320

£206-275

£198

£145

National 1

£260

£230

£193

£142

National 2

£241

£212

£175

£133

After the decision, the Senior Costs Judge issued a Practice Note explaining some of the practical consequences.