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Do You Pay Court Costs if Found Not Guilty?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 6 Nov 2019 |
 
Acquittal Costs Prosecution Order Trial

Q.

If you are found not guilty in a court of law do you have to pay any court costs and solicitors fees?

(R.S, 29 March 2009)

A.

The short answer to your question is yes, but only in limited circumstances. Ordinarily if you are charged with a criminal offence, plead not guilty, are taken to trial and are then acquitted (either by magistrates or a jury) you will not be liable to pay court costs.

Claiming Your Costs After Acquittal

In fact, if you are acquitted your advocate can ask the court to make an application for your costs to be reimbursed ‘out of central funds’. These costs must be reasonable and cover for example the cost of your journeys to and from court on each occasion. Your legal representative should take details of these costs from you in order to be able to present an accurate figure to the court.

Eligibility As To Costs

An order as to costs is not automatically given when a defendant is acquitted. It has to be requested by the applicant (whether prosecution or defence) at the appropriate time. This is usually straight after the acquittal has been announced by the bench, or the foreman of the jury, whichever is applicable. The bench (judge or magistrates) are not under an obligation to grant the order: it is discretionary.

Situation In Which Costs May Be Ordered After Acquittal

However, if you are prosecuted for an offence and have withheld information that either proves your innocence, or that the CPS or police consider that, had they been in possession of that information, then they would not have proceeded with the prosecution, this is a situation in which you may be liable to pay the costs of the case.

Level Of Costs

Costs for bringing prosecutions in the Magistrates’ Court are lower than taking a case to the Crown Court. However it is important to be aware that some specialist prosecutions are much more expensive in terms of costs than standard criminal prosecutions (e.g. Environment Agency prosecutions.)

In civil cases, the CPR (Civil Procedure Rules) provides rules for the payment of costs. In the small claims court, and in fast track cases costs are fixed. In multi-track cases (the more complex or lengthy trials) costs are not fixed.

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[Add a Comment]
I was charged with a historical an offence which I never committed. I was on bail for over 2 years. I have been acquitted but have been under so much stress by death threats and my good character being defamed also had my daughter taken off me for a year. I feel I have to move out of town and was wondering will I be entitled to compensation for what I've been through and still going through.
Bubblegum - 6-Nov-19 @ 11:01 PM
Interesting comment about the courts assuming people lie.Does one also include the Police Officers too?It’s been proven many time that in fact they cause great pain for many when their lies are believed. People spend years in jail and thousands lost in revenue because of their inability to accept they were wrong!
JB - 20-Oct-19 @ 7:09 PM
if I haven't been found guilty for contempt of court , (federal court) why would i have to pay the other attorney for sanction fees.Also should I appeal it or ask for a reconsideration ?
Wennie - 15-Aug-19 @ 1:18 PM
Arrested for going on an obvious scam website trap. Shamed by humiliation inmedia, became suicidal. Found not guilty of website action but convicted for being suicidal! £50000 legal costs, nothing reimbursed
Goldie - 30-May-19 @ 2:50 PM
got accused of a burglary I did not commit. done 6 month remand went to crown got acquitted after the witness who said it was me did not appear so I got acquitted and let out.am I entitled to compensation for defamation of character then as this put a great deal of stress on my family and friends n iv had bother since
kik - 11-May-19 @ 5:56 PM
I've been to court and found not guilty of abh it was proved through cctv evidence that it was not me and was someone else, now I've been left with a £9500 solicitors Bill can and how do i claim this back?
Macca - 16-Oct-18 @ 4:41 PM
I have been charged with 3 offences. 2 of which i went guilty to at first opportunity, the third i was running trial for. I have had to pay around £6,000 of legal aid contributions for the cost of the trial etc, however the third charge has now been dropped and there won't be a trial. Will i be able to claim back some of my contributions?
Ste - 2-May-18 @ 1:32 PM
Hi. I have beenaccused by assault to a security guy in a club almost 3months ago. Afterthis, i have been plead not guilty. There isno evidence to proof what he said against to me. However,he twist my knee and i wentto thehospital for theinjury itcause me apart from all the bruise onmyarm. My lawyer will present alltheproofigot for thetrial case. Ihaveto pay himfor thecase too. My questionis thatifafter the trial i am still pleaded notguilty, there is any chance that i couldclaim the legal fees backto me?
Inesa - 19-Apr-18 @ 12:19 AM
I have been on bail with the condition of electronic tagging, I am on a charge of section 18GBH. When I go to trial and am acquitted can I claim money for the time I spent on tag and also the trauma and grief this has put on my standard of life. Would I have to sue the person making the allegation separately?
Jackieshan - 26-Mar-18 @ 4:12 PM
I’ve paid almost 3 grand in court fees, I’ve ve recently bin acquitted or all charges by unanimous decision from the jury how do I go about getting a refund on the fees
Longi123 - 16-Feb-18 @ 11:17 AM
I was charged with section 18 gbh with intent went to crown court pleaded not guilty got found not guilty of section 18 but guilty of section 20 wounding do I have to pay the 1200 pound court cost the court have contacted my work place to have the money taken from my wages?
Bambam - 9-Feb-18 @ 4:57 PM
@Nels - there are always two sides to every story, and the courts are aware that most people will actually lie in order to protect themselves. That's why witnesses are used in investigations. There may be more witnesses. The courts will know how to deal with such situations. They're pretty good at finding out the truth for the most part.
MacD - 5-Feb-18 @ 10:36 AM
I have been charged with assault by beating. There is a witness who is giving a different version of events than that of the person who I'm supposed to have kicked. I did neither version. Their dog was off a lead bit my dog so I moved their dog with my foot away from my dog this person then said I kicked him in the arm and the so called witness said I kicked him in the chest. What followed was this person taking a swing at me and fell over then came up with this kicking story. Where so I stand on this.
Nels - 4-Feb-18 @ 10:30 AM
I was charged with rape. Which I denied. Waiting 15 mths for trial... she had 3 witnesses 1 a senior detective. She lied.. WAS FOUND NOT GUILTY WITHIN 1 HR.. this has devastated me & my family tryed suicide. Why should she get away with it & police. Am I entitled to compensation...
Andy - 5-Jan-18 @ 1:41 PM
I was charged with rape. Which I denied. Waiting 15 mths for trial... she had 3 witnesses 1 a senior detective. She lied.. this has devastated me & my family tryed suicide. Why should she get away with it & police. Am I entitled to compensation...
Andy - 5-Jan-18 @ 11:59 AM
Hi i have been stopped by police and let go but when i have produced my documents at the police station the lady said i have no insurance. Also she said she has spoken to the insurance company and said they have no record of my car. Spoke to insurance company after leaving the police station and they say we have no record of the police contacting us. I had insurance at the time. Was sent a letter for magistrates to fill in and send back, sent it on time and they received it late so pleaded me guilty now i have applied for crown court will i have to pay any fees if i am found not guilty also do i need a solicitor? Thanks
Aky - 22-Jun-17 @ 4:31 AM
I was charged with driving my partners car without correct insurance or lisence. They impounded my car and she had to pay £150 to get it back. I went to court and was found not guilty so can she claim that money back
Ralph - 19-May-17 @ 10:50 PM
Hi, my boyfriend was accused with gbh with intent and it went to crown court. He pleaded not guilty and was found not guilty. He paid his solicitor fees of over £5000. Is he entitled to any of this back? Many thanks
H - 21-Apr-17 @ 8:02 PM
i was granted a settlement in my divorce from my ex husbands 401K. My attorney failed to file the QDOR form and as such I am having a hard time getting the settlement. What steps should I take now since my attorney will not answer or return phone calls or emails?
summer - 16-Mar-17 @ 6:09 PM
@Jay - No mate - if you were lawfully suspected of the robbery the police and CPS can remand you in jail until they have collected the evidence.
LEO78 - 30-Jan-17 @ 12:36 PM
Jay - Your Question:
I accuse with robbery and I stay in jail 2 month and 2month home on bail and after they find out am innocent do I get any money and my name was all over they news robbery 111 years old woman I was ganna go year for that for something I never done wrong identities do I get any combination

Our Response:
You can't receive compensation for being held on remand if you have been lawfully arrested, lawfully detained in custody (awaiting trial) and then acquitted.
CourtroomAdvice - 27-Jan-17 @ 2:29 PM
I accuse with robbery and I stay in jail 2 month and 2month home on bail and after they find out am innocent do I get any money and my name was all over they news robbery 111 years old woman I was ganna go year for that for something I never done wrong identities do I get any combination
Jay - 27-Jan-17 @ 7:15 AM
I have situation I need someone to help me can I get compensation on any money for being accused of robbery and stayed two months in jail and after they fine me inccon t do I get any money
Jay - 27-Jan-17 @ 7:07 AM
I got arrested for drunk driving & summons to court.after an adjournment I was back up but before getting into court the prosecution dropped all charges.do I pay my solicitor £1500 or can I get the courts to pay it.
Gazza - 7-Nov-16 @ 4:45 PM
Please help. My husband was charged with a crime he did not commit & was found not guilty. The case went on for 4 weeks & as my husband is self employed he lost 4 weeks of wages. As well as this he had to attend bail dates at the police station & miss days from work meeting with solicitors & his barrister. Can he claimed loss of earnings for the trial as we are financially suffering due to this whole ordeal. Thanks
Kyliefj - 26-Sep-16 @ 1:21 PM
Hi sir madam, good afternoon. I just want to ask about rape case pls? What happen if they announced the jury or in the court that you are not guilty, that means the case is closed or done?Is there any chance that the other side will file the case again against you?Thank you so much for you time, pls can you give me some advice pls.. Pls, thank you....
Ghel - 24-Aug-16 @ 11:01 AM
I was arrested around January and had my work tools taking of me I was released on bail and just last week I was going to trial and the day before court the case was dropped. Can I claim loss of earnings as I have had no work since January. Also had to pay my lawyer 800 pounds Thanks
Jonboy - 15-Jun-16 @ 7:58 PM
Hi April 2015 my flatmate got court driving my car and gave my name when arrested! After being held in cell after 24hrs the sun morning she admitted who she really was! They held her for another 24 he's and took straight to court on Monday morn as she was in breach of bail conditions too and was given 3 disqualifiacqtions, no licence,no insurance and drink driving and £500 fine. The court however made an error and put the disqualificatons on my licence aswel as hers!! I had my car crushed as I was stopped in brum and these came up on the system!! I applied a post court 142 to magistrates and explained everything and was unsuccessful. No one seems to know or are avoiding responsibility for a court error. I could not do swear declaration in court as I was not showing up on their libra system! I then spoke with Dvla and relayed this to them and they said it was a court admin error!! My liberty has been took from me for a whole year,suffered anxiety, depression, car crushed and I'm on the suck as partially disabled so my car was my legs in a sense!! Now its just over a year constantly calling the legal team at court and got a call Friday just gone from the court to say they are sorry and it has been rectified with Dvla and they apparabtly sent an email July 2015 to put this right!! Dvla had no such email and they are just passing the back now. This error was made from the court to Dvla in the first place. So I want to know with all the letters etc I have for this case can I get compensation for this? It ruined my life as I say. Shall I get a solicitor or get ombudsman to do this? What kind of compensation do you think I'm looking at bearing in mind the car thatgot crushed I have a receipt for £2500 plus a year not driving and depression etc I suffered. My sick money went up due to stress this caused me too! Please can anyone shed some light I would be most grateful. Thank you x
debbers - 1-May-16 @ 10:20 PM
Hello my name is junior I was arrested and remanded into custody for 7 months as I went not guilty to possesion of a altered firearm and cannabis I was found not guilty on both counts am I entitled to compensation?
jr - 21-Apr-16 @ 10:10 AM
Dear, i have been convicted by sessions judge in case 496-BPPC without any evidence and reality as well. The main reason for my conviction is only to compromise with opposite party which is extremely not possible because without reality complainant complaint on me . I was sentenced to undergo for five years. When i spend seven months in jail High Court acquitted me of the charges levelled against mewith my innocence. I have lost much more precious things 1) Education carrier breakage 2) counsel heavy fees 3) journey charges 4) My family dignity which i lost 5) Seven month imprisonment Now i ask my dear whether i can plead in court for above compensation or not? duration in which i can plead after high court order announcement? upto how limit of compensation i can plead?
mian - 16-Feb-16 @ 5:09 AM
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