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New Costs Rules in Criminal Cases for Individual and Corporate Defendants

Criminal Case Regulations 2009


The Costs in Criminal Cases (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 amends the Costs in Criminal Cases (General) Regulations 1986 (S.I. 1986/1335) (the 1986 Regulations) and makes a number of changes to the 1986 Regulations.

The new Regulations make changes relating to the payment of costs and expenses paid from central funds in criminal cases for acquitted defendants.  In particular, they provide that the amount to be paid from central funds under a defendant's costs order made pursuant to section 16 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (except in the Supreme Court) will not exceed the applicable legal aid rates.  The capping of central funds payments to equivalent legal aid rates will apply to all defendants, whether individuals or companies.

A defendant's costs order can be made by a court where a defendant is not proceeded against in respect of an offence, is acquitted of an offence, or successfully appeals a conviction or sentence. In the case of a defendant who pays privately for legal representation, the order can cover the costs of this legal representation.

Currently, the defendant would receive such amount as considered reasonably sufficient to compensate him or her for any expenses properly incurred. The response to the consultation paper set out the Government's intention to save between £22-25 million annually by limiting the costs that can be allowed to legal aid rates.

For full details see http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/em/uksiem_20092720_en.pdf

If you have any questions regarding the issues raised in the article or the new regulations regarding defendant costs awards from central funds please contact Sarah Wallace on 0370 1500 100 or 020 7421 3883.