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Legal Costs

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 27th February 2017.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment her Department has made of the effect of the abolition of the Defence Cost Order on people who have self-funded the cost of their legal defence at trial.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

In 2012, the Government changed the law to restrict reimbursement of the legal costs of defendants who have been acquitted of a criminal offence. Defendants who were entitled to legal aid (i.e. those facing trial in the Crown Court) but chose to pay privately, were no longer able to recover legal costs. Where legal costs were allowed, e.g. in the magistrates’ court, they were limited to the equivalent of legal aid rates. A post-implementation review of the legal aid changes made by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 will be conducted by April 2018.

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