If you are a successful defendant, i.e. you are acquitted or the case against you is dismissed, and you have paid your solicitor privately, you are entitled to recover your legal costs under the Defence Costs Order regime.
The definition of legal costs includes fees, charges, disbursements and other amounts payable in respect of solicitor and barrister fees. The regime came into effect for criminal proceedings commenced after 1 October 2012 so if your case started after this date, you may be eligible. The amount that is recoverable is, however, limited to the amount that would be payable under legal aid rates, so you will not get the full amount of legal costs that you paid returned to you.
The regime applies to, amongst others, proceedings in a magistrates’ court, when a warrant, requisition or summons relating to the proceedings is issued and on an appeal to the Crown court, when a notice of appeal is served. Your solicitor will be able to advise you on whether this applies to your case.
If you are eligible for a claim under the Defence Costs Order regime, you must submit your claim within three months’ of the date the court proceedings ended, otherwise you risk having your claim rejected or a penalty imposed. Submitting a claim under the Defence Costs Order regime is something that you will normally have to do yourself, however at MTG Solicitors, your solicitor will be able to do this for you.