The following update has been published by the Honourable Court:
"Notice to customers regarding Court of Protection bills
Please be advised that due to staff shortages on all teams and issues relating to Covid-19, the SCCO is currently dealing with a significant backlog of Court of Protection bills. As a result of this, waiting times have increased, which has understandably led to an increase in the enquiries regarding progress that we have been receiving by phone and email.
Please be assured that we do understand how frustrating delays can be for our customers and staff are working hard to improve the situation. However, the need to respond to a high volume of chasing queries is impacting on the time they have to process the backlog, which in turn, has a counter-productive effect on waiting times.
To clarify, our procedures, bills are assessed in order of the date upon which the supporting paperwork was received. The Costs Officers are currently assessing cases for which the supporting papers arrived around late July. We usually allow 2 weeks for the assessment of the bill. Once assessed, it is returned to the Admin Team for despatch. Unfortunately, there is also a backlog of assessed bills with the Admin Team and they are currently processing bills returned to them by the Costs Officers in the second week of December.
Please note that we have no control over delivery times following despatch.
In terms of e-filings that have been submitted, but not yet accepted or rejected, we are currently working on filings submitted around mid-December.
In view of the above and in order to maximise the time that is spent working to reduce the backlog, we are politely requesting that at the present time you do not make enquiries about the progress of the following:
- Any bills for which supporting paperwork was submitted after late July.
- Any e-filing not yet accepted/rejected that was submitted after mid December.
The dates being worked on will obviously change over time and it is our intention to send out a bi-weekly update so that customers are aware of the approximate time periods involved. Please be aware that the progress we make very much depends upon the volume and complexity of work received within a particular period, as well as the resources available to us. Consequently, the speed with which we advance through the dates may not always be consistent. Please also bear in mind that any information provided regarding individual bills is an estimate and our staff cannot make guarantees as to when a particular case will be dealt with.
Measures are being taken which should hopefully improve the situation in the longer-term, but in the meantime, your assistance in restricting queries to urgent matters would be greatly appreciated and help us to deal with your bills as efficiently as possible.
We do apologise for the delays and thank you for your continued patience during these difficult times.
The Senior Courts Costs Office
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