Routes to recovery of acquitted defendant's costs
Routes to recovery of acquitted defendant's costs

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Routes to recovery of acquitted defendant's costs
  • Recovery of legal costs from central funds
  • Payment of costs by one party to another
  • Action for malicious prosecution

Recovery of legal costs from central funds

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO 2012) makes substantial changes to the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (POA 1985).

The effect of these changes is that acquitted defendants in the Crown Court who have privately funded their litigation will no longer be able to recover any of their legal costs from central funds.

Legal costs, which includes fees, charges and expert witness costs, may now only be recovered from central funds in the limited circumstances specified in POA 1985.

The new regime is not incompatible with the fair trial provisions of Article 6 ECHR. In R (Henderson) v Secretary of State for Justice the Divisional Court dismissed a challenge to the restrictions that sought a declaration of incompatibility from the court under s 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998). The court found that nothing in the language of the statutory provisions indicated that the denial of recovery of costs to acquitted defendants amounts to an implicit statement by Parliament that it questions their innocence.

The latest Costs Practice Direction (Practice Direction (Costs in Criminal Proceedings) came into force on 5 October 2015.

See also Practice Note: Acquitted defendants' costs orders in criminal proceedings.

Payment of costs by one party to another

Applications under POA 1985, s