Wasted costs in criminal proceedings

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

  • Wasted costs in criminal proceedings
  • Orders for costs against legal representatives
  • Improper, unreasonable or negligent
  • Necessary considerations
  • Vicarious liability for employees
  • Advocate absent at hearing’s listed time
  • Compliance with procedural rules
  • Procedure
  • Appeals against wasted costs orders

Wasted costs in criminal proceedings

Orders for costs against legal representatives

Under section 19A(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 (POA 1985), the Court of Appeal, Crown Court or magistrates' court can order a legal or other representative to pay the wasted costs incurred by him or her. A costs order may also be made against a solicitor in the Crown Court under the inherent jurisdiction of the Crown Court.

The power was created by the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (CLSA 1990) and was inserted into POA 1985, s 19A. This is a separate power to that set out in POA 1985, s 19A(1) and in regulation 3 of the Costs in Criminal Cases (General) Regulations 1986, SI 1986/1335. For information on the recovery of costs under these provisions, see Practice Note: Applying for costs from a prosecutor following an unsuccessful criminal prosecution.

POA 1985, s 19A contains key definitions:

  1. a 'legal or other representative’ is a person exercising a right of audience or a right to conduct litigation on behalf of any party to the proceedings

  2. ‘Wasted costs’ are the costs incurred by a party:

    1. as a result of any improper, unreasonable or negligent act or omission on the part of any representative or their employee, or

    2. which, in light of any such improper, unreasonable or negligent act or omission occurring after costs were incurred, the

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