Adam Wagner successfully acted for the National Taxing Team (NTT) in McEwan v National Taxing Team [2014] EWHC 2308 (Admin), a Judicial Review of the NTT’s decision to disallow part of a 」17,630.30 bill of costs in a prosecution for harassment which collapsed mid-trial. In its judgment, the Divisional Court set out the relevant principles for compensating defendants for the costs of their legal representation in criminal cases which have been dismissed.

Sir Brian Leveson (President of the Queen’s Bench Division) and Mr Justice Cranston dismissed Mr McEwan’s Judicial Review claim of the NTT’s decision.

Section 16 of the Prosecution of Offences Act (POA) 1985 allows a criminal court to make a ‘defendant’s costs order’ which allows a payment out of central funds for “such amount as the court considers reasonably sufficient to compensate him for any expenses properly incurred by him in the proceedings”.

Cranston J, with whom the President agreed, summarised the main principles arising out of the previous case law [19], before concluding that the NTT had not applied the wrong test in its decision [21] and the decision was not irrational [24].

s.16 of of POA 1985 and the applicable regulations have recently been amended by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012. In this case, the pre-LASPO regime applied.

The full judgment can be read here.