“A Deputy costs how much?”
The case of JR v Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides useful guidance from the Court on what costs are reasonable.
JR is a 24-year old with severe cerebral palsy. He was a premature birth and a breech delivery. His litigation friend brought a clinical negligence claim on his behalf, arguing that JR’s injuries could have been avoided by a caesarean delivery. The Defendant accepted liability.
At the settlement hearing, some heads of loss had been agreed, but the costs of the professional deputy remained in dispute.
All parties accepted that JR lacked capacity to look after his own financial affairs and would do so for the rest of his life. They agreed to a professional deputy being appointed, but argued over the likely future cost of this.
Important points to consider
JR’s parents were very supportive, but not financially sophisticated. They wanted to work with the Deputy, not against him/her. JR had a genuine degree of capacity, so the Deputy was clearly under an obligation to consult with him.
The question for the Court is what should be allowed for the future costs of a professional deputy in these circumstances?
For annual management
|Year||Claimant £||Defendant £||Award £|
|1||30,605 plus cost of 2 visits||14,000 inclusive of 2 visits||30,000 inclusive of visits|
|2||21,492 plus cost of 2 visits||9,000 inclusive of 2 visits||20,000 inclusive of visits|
|3||17,040 plus cost of 1 visit||8,000 inclusive of 1 visit||15,000 inclusive of visits|
|4||17,040 plus cost of 1 visit||8,000 inclusive of 1 visit||15,000 inclusive of visits|
|5 onwards||11,232 plus cost of 1 visit||7,000 inclusive of 1 visit||10,000 inclusive of visits|
The parties agreed that for extras such as Wills, co-habitation or pre-nuptial agreements and “crisis payments” a further £38,160 was reasonable.
Altogether? – the Judge allowed £898,993.
At first glance, the cost of a professional deputy can seem expensive, but when carefully broken down these costs can be justified.
The anticipated costs of a professional deputy need to be carefully factored into a claim.
It is useful to have some guidance from Court as to what costs are reasonable.