Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Legal Costs - Another Click of the Ratchet

Thanks to CrimeLine for pointing me to this statutory instrument giving the Lord Chancellor power to cap central funds costs. CrimeLine expects that costs awarded out of central funds will be capped at Legal Aid rates, which are way below solicitors' private client fees.
If I read this aright, someone who is tried and acquitted, having instructed solicitors and possibly Counsel privately, is likely to be left with a large bill for their fees, that he has no hope of recovering, despite his being innocent of the offence. The CPS, on the other hand cannot lose, and may see this as an opportunity to bully guilty pleas out of people who might have a defence but who cannot afford to run it.

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