Criminal Proceedings

Attorney-General written question – answered on 23rd April 2013.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Attorney General

To ask the Attorney-General what the total amount has been of wasting costs orders made against the Crown Prosecution Service in the criminal courts in each of the last five years.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve The Attorney-General

There are a range of costs orders that can be made against the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). These include costs orders under section 19 of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985, where an order may be made that one party pay the costs of the other party to criminal proceedings. Such an order may be made when the court is satisfied that the costs in question have been incurred by party A as a result of “an unnecessary or improper act of omission by or on behalf of” party B.

Costs can also be ordered under section 19A of the same Act where an order may be made against a legal representative that s/he pay “wasted costs”. Wasted costs are costs incurred as a result of improper, unreasonable or negligent act or omission on the part of any representative or the employee of any representative.

Furthermore, costs can be ordered under section 19B of the same Act against third parties to pay the costs incurred by any other party to the proceedings.

Finally, in civil proceedings, such as restraint proceedings when dealing with matters under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, inter-parties costs orders can be made which follow the event, namely that costs are awarded against the losing party.

The CPS maintains records of the overall value of costs payments made but does not distinguish between the various types of costs order listed above. To ascertain the types and value of individual costs awards made over the last five years would require a review of each case and this would incur disproportionate cost.

The total value of costs awards paid by CPS over each of the last five years is:

Total costs payments against the CPS
2008-09 652,766
2009-10 907,061
2010-11 1,547,874
2011-12 384,682
2012-13 (provisional) 1,202,514

The value of total costs payments made in 2012-13 was £1.2 million which represents about 0.19% of overall CPS expenditure.

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