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Do You Pay Court Costs if Found Not Guilty?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 2 May 2018 |
 
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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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
My son was found not guilty in crown court over 5 months ago but we still have not received back the money we paid the court for his defense which was over £2600.I have contacted my solicitor about this several times but still no money from the court.They were quick enough to make us pay this money saying that if we did not pay he would not get representation etc.How come it takes them so long to pay people back?
samlin01 - 29-Nov-15 @ 8:45 PM
LoL - Your Question:
2 years ago I went to prison I was found guilty at the crown courts on a not guilty plea now the crown courts want £3000 off me as I was on legal aid they say in my solicitors forms says I own a property which I don't they want proof of ownership obviously there was an error in the legal aid forms from the solicitor who applied for larval aid what do I do I am on esa pip uv got mental and physical health problems do I go to the solicitor who applied for legal aid or do I go to the owner of the property where I'm s hoy sitter I don't pay rent it's a relatives house who lives abroad and ask them to send me proof of ownership they are sending the skiffs what are my best ops ions if I have any thankyou

Our Response:
You could in the first instance, obtain proof from the owner, that you do not own the property, a photocopy of the deeds should be suffice. Once you have the proof contact your solicitor in order to see how you can rectify the situation with the courts.
CourtroomAdvice - 19-Oct-15 @ 11:38 AM
2 years ago I went to prison I was found guilty at the crown courts on a not guilty plea now the crown courts want £3000 off me as I was on legal aid they say in my solicitors forms says I own a property which I don't they want proof of ownership obviously there was an error in the legal aid forms from the solicitor who applied for larval aid what do I do I am on esa pip uv got mental and physical health problems do I go to the solicitor who applied for legal aid or do I go to the owner of the property where I'm s hoy sitter I don't pay rent it's a relatives house who lives abroad and ask them to send me proof of ownership they are sending the skiffs what are my best ops ions if I have any thankyou
LoL - 18-Oct-15 @ 1:26 PM
Hello, I'm an American who moved to Scotland for a three year position as a postdoctoral scientific researcher. On my 7th day in Dundee, I was wrongfully accused of walking around naked (a guy had indeed been walking about naked two hrs prior to me walking through that location). I have my roommate as well as a pizza delivery guy who are alibi's that I was at my house during the time of the incident. However, the police threw me in jail for three days and I've had a sexual assault charge hanging over my head for the past 8 months (my trial has been pushed back three times). The police just now came forward to the procurator fiscal at the latest meeting to say that the witnesses were too far away and in the dark, they don't believe the witnesses - however, I have had to pay over 5000 pounds to a solicitor, I've experienced significant backlash from this hanging over my head to the point that I'm now about to lose my job and am out on the sick. Am I not entitled to compensation? Even forgetting the suffering/job loss, the solicitor fee's alone? It seems the mentality out here in Scotland is that one is just supposed to deal with it, but this has ruined my life. The Police, who have made their position clear, 8 months after the fact, in my mind, should have done so on the first night so that I would not have had to go through any of this - or at least soon thereafter to prevent all the solicitor costs. Any advice appreciated, I'm livid that its deemed OK to ruin a completely innocent persons life over wrongful accusation for something that, if I were to have been found guilty, would have been put on a list next to child molesters!
Mike - 15-Jul-15 @ 11:31 PM
@Ali - Whilst lying on oath is probably most common in divorce and family law proceedings where emotions are often running high, these are the cases in which it can be the most difficult to prove, as it is essentially one person's word against the other. However, lawyers are accustomed to this and know the right questions to ask in order to expose if a person is telling untruths or not. Where perjury is proved, the penalties can be high. I hope this helps.
CourtroomAdvice - 13-Jul-15 @ 12:10 PM
Hi I want to ask that wrong allegations been made against me and kids being removed from me temporary is there any chances I will get my kids back my hearing is very soon
Ali - 10-Jul-15 @ 1:45 PM
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