The Criminal Cases Unit is responsible for assessing a range of claims paid out of Central Funds.
Certain types of claims must be submitted using the Fastrak process.
If you’ve instructed an advocate (barrister) without instructing a litigator (solicitor) see Direct Access section below.
You must send claims to the Criminal Cases Unit (CCU) within 3 months of the court proceedings ending. CCU may reject claims or impose a penalty if you submit your claim late.
The CCU assesses costs incurred in the magistrates’ court and Crown Court claims from:
- dismissed or acquitted defendant who has a costs order from the court
- an advocate appointed by the court to cross-examine a vulnerable witness in the defendant’s interests or in the Crown Court to put the case for the defence where defendant unfit to plead
- a private prosecutor who has a costs order from the court
How to claim back costs
|Type of claim||Claim for||Form and supporting documents|
|DCO magistrates court Fastrak||Dismissed defendant in magistrates court £2000 or less excluding disbursements. All claims should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org||DCO1|
|DCO magistrates court Non-Fastrak||Dismissed defendant in magistrates court over £2000. All claims should be e-mailed to email@example.com||DCO2 plus supporting documents listed on form|
|DCO Crown Court appeal||Successful appeal against magistrates’ conviction or sentence All claims should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.||DCO2 plus supporting documents listed on form|
|DCO Crown Court proceedings on indictment||Acquitted defendant refused legal aid on financial grounds on or after 27 January 2014. All claims should be e-mailed to email@example.com||DCO2|
|DCO magistrates court Barrister Direct Access||Dismissed defendant in magistrates’ court||5913|
|DCO magistrates court Barrister Direct Access||Dismissed defendant in magistrates’ court||5913A|
|Court appointee – magistrates’ court||Section 38 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999||No specific form use 5911 with the Libra order of appointment plus supporting documents listed on form. Please note you must include your papers. These claims do not come under the fastrak scheme|
|Court appointee – Crown Court||Section 4A Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 or section38 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999||No specific form use 5911 with the Court letter of appointment plus supporting documents listed on form|
|Private prosecutor – magistrates’ court||Costs relating to indictable offences only||No specific form use 5911 plus supporting documents listed on form|
|Private prosecutor - Crown Court||Costs incurred in Crown Court and magistrates court||No specific form use 5911 plus supporting documents listed on form|
Where defence costs are claimed under a DCO made in proceedings commencing either in the magistrates court or in the Crown Court on or after 1 October 2012 costs are payable only in accordance with the rates and scales set by the Lord Chancellor in the legal costs documents.
Expenses incurred in attending court by witnesses (including professional and expert witnesses), interpreters, and intermediaries, are paid locally by the court in accordance with the Guide to Allowances. These expenses are not paid by the CCU.
Extension of time for submitting your central funds or legal aid claim
You can request an extension of time by email at least 7 days before your claim is due.
- enter ‘extension of time’ in the subject header
- give details of why you need an extension and the date you need it for.
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reassessment of your central funds or legal aid claim
If you disagree with the CCU’s decision you must ask for it to be reconsidered (a review or a redetermination) within 21 days of the assessment.
- make your request in writing and sign it
- specify what is disputed and why
- enclose relevant documents and information
- advise if you’d like to make an application to be heard
How to appeal
If you’re dissatisfied with the decision on reassessment and you are claiming costs out of central funds (defence, prosecution, or appointee) and your claim relates to proceedings in the magistrates’ court you may apply for a Judicial Review.
If your claim is a:
- Crown Court legal aid claim
- Crown Court central funds defence or prosecution costs order claim
- Crown Court appointee claim
You can within 21 days of the notification of the reassessment decision request written reasons. If you’re still dissatisfied with those reasons, you can appeal to the Costs Judge.
The Senior Costs Judge
The Senior Courts Costs Office
Thomas More Building
Royal Courts of Justice
London WC2A 2LL
Telephone 0207 947 6000
How to appeal to the Costs Judge
You can appeal to the Costs Judge within 21 days of receipt of the written reasons. You must complete the appeal form, specifying the disputed amounts. You must send a copy of your appeal to the CCU.
Please refer to the Senior Court Costs Office guide.
Where to send claims for costs dealt with by the CCU
All new claims for DCO fastrak (magistrates’ claims up to £2000 including counsel fees excluding vat and disbursements) should now be submitted on a DCO1 form and emailed to email@example.com.
All new claims for DCO magistrates and Crown Court claims over £2000 should be submitted on a DCO2 form and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All other claims should be sent to:
Criminal Cases Unit
7th Floor, Piccadilly Gate
DX 329701 Manchester 84
How payments are made by the CCU
Payments are made by our payment centre Shared Service Connect Limited (SSCL). For any enquiries or for information on authorised payments, contact SSCL on 0845 241 5341 (2p per minute). You will need to quote the reference number and the payment number eg M1054321/09876.
Please note there is a delay in printing cheques so it would greatly assist if you could provide your bank details for a Bacs payment. This information should be on letterheaded paper signed by 2 partners and can to be scanned and emailed to: email@example.com.