In the first of some regular pieces on costs in the Court of Protection, provided by A&M Bacon, Paul Cruickshanks provides an outline of the new e-filing procedure in operation from January 2020.
As you may have heard, or perhaps seen with your recently returned COP assessments, e-filing is being introduced at the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO). This will include the lodging of Court of Protection bills of costs for provisional assessment.
The voluntary pilot was introduced on 7 October 2019 but will be mandatory from January 2020. Our advice is to trial a few files sooner rather than later so any issues can be ironed out prior to its formal introduction.
The process, as far as we understand it, can be outlined as follows:
You can set up an account using this link: https://efile.cefile-app.com/login
There is an option “Register as an e-filer” which takes you into the registration process and there is further guidance available on the gov.uk website.
This is certainly a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, practitioners remain unable to send their files in electronic form (it is only the assessment documents and bill that may be filed electronically) but the SCCO is already scanning assessed bills on to their system so that in the event assessed bills go missing, they do not have to be re-assessed by the court (as happened previously as no copies were kept by the court).
We sincerely hope that the court will move to a platform that will enable it to accept files in electronic format, whether that be by USB stick or DVD. It will certainly cut down on paper use and postal costs and would be the next logical step given the move to a more paper free office environment.
Head of Court of Protection
A&M Bacon Ltd
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