cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

'Not guilty' motorists face court costs

Community Veteran
Posts: 26,372
Thanks: 629
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

'Not guilty' motorists face court costs

http://www.pistonheads.com/news/default.asp?storyId=20842
http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/CostsRecovery/
Quote
The Ministry of Justice plan to implement a new costs recovery system from October 2009. Under new rules any defendant acquitted of an offence in the Magistrates' Court will only be reimbursed at prevailing legal aid rates regardless of the level of costs they paid to their lawyers.
This proposed rule change will undoubtedly mean that many defendants will accept wrongful prosecutions for commercial reasons. The Association of Motor Offence Lawyers (of which I am President) see thousands of convictions each year in the Magistrates' Court that should never occur due to misunderstanding of technical points concerning motoring legislation. If a defendant wishes to clear their name, they often have to take their case to the Crown Court. This can be an expensive process for which legal aid is unavailable which many will not embark upon with the knowledge that even when they win their appeal, they will lose the majority of the legal fees they spend in the process.
The costs savings the government are seeing to make could be made by examining and improving other ineffective processes within the court system. It is not fair to pass yet another expense onto the public.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
6 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,814
Thanks: 1,112
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: 'Not guilty' motorists face court costs

you are specifically mentioning motoring example here, but does this apply to ANY case? as indicated in the first line
"Under new rules any defendant acquitted of an offence in the Magistrates' Court will only be reimbursed at prevailing legal aid rates regardless of the level of costs they paid to their lawyers."
I thought that "costs" were recovered from the "other side". 
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 25,754
Thanks: 1,116
Fixes: 47
Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: 'Not guilty' motorists face court costs

Quote from: shutter
I thought that "costs" were recovered from the "other side".   

That would probably have to be dealt with by another Magistrate in another court with other associated court costs Roll eyes
Customer and Forum Moderator.
Product of the Tyrell Corporation
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,280
Thanks: 218
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-08-2009

Re: 'Not guilty' motorists face court costs

In this particular case (motoring offences) the "other side" is the long arm of the law, ie a police-instigated ticket. It basically limits the amount you are able to reclaim from the Government on a successful challenge to a "speeding or other driving penalty in court". The limit is capped at the amount of legal aid you would have got in any case. So if you spend £10k on legal defences you'll only get £1.50 back! Seems like an excuse for rooky Police Officers who are after brownie points to get a tad over-zealous!
http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/research/2009/09/innocent-motorists-to-have-reclaimed-legal-costs-s...
I was with a friend in a van some time ago when we were stopped by a police car on a dual carriageway. We were both wearing seat belts, and the friend took his off to go to the police car to see what the problem was, only to be told that he hadn't been wearing a seat belt. When he protested his innocence he was told he could challenge the fixed-penalty ticket he was about to get if he wanted, but for now it cost him £60!!
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,372
Thanks: 629
Fixes: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: 'Not guilty' motorists face court costs

In this case the "other side" is the UK government. The costs of paying out on the successful appeals are getting too high, so lets just stop paying them is their attitude.
Is it too simplistic of me to think the obvious solution is to make sure fewer wrongful convictions are made in the first place - this saves the costs of appeal from both sides.
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 25,754
Thanks: 1,116
Fixes: 47
Registered: 14-04-2007

Re: 'Not guilty' motorists face court costs

That's far too obvious a solution for Whitehall John  Roll eyes Wink
Customer and Forum Moderator.
Product of the Tyrell Corporation
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,919
Thanks: 514
Fixes: 7
Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: 'Not guilty' motorists face court costs

I heard about this yesterday from a friend and couldn't believe it when he told me. It's absolutely disgusting how this pathetic excuse of a government will try almost ANYTHING to make a few more quid out of innocent members of the public.
What really irks me is something which nozzer has also pointed out:
Quote from: nozzer
Seems like an excuse for rooky Police Officers who are after brownie points to get a tad over-zealous!

Without a doubt you are going to get cops out there determined to give someone a hard time for no good reason whilst having a laugh knowing full well that no matter if someone is guilty or not its still going to cost them a considerable amount of money.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!