Guidance

Claims paid out of central funds

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 dcofastrak@justice.gov.uk DCO1 and guidance
DCO magistrates court Non-Fastrak Dismissed defendant in magistrates court over £2000. All claims should be e-mailed to dco@justice.gov.uk DCO2 and guidance
DCO Crown Court appeal Successful appeal against magistrates’ conviction or sentence All claims should be e-mailed to dco@justice.gov.uk. DCO2 and guidance
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 dco@justice.gov.uk DCO2 and guidance
DCO magistrates court Barrister Direct Access Dismissed defendant in magistrates’ court 5913 and guidance
DCO magistrates court Barrister Direct Access Dismissed defendant in magistrates’ court 5913A and guidance
Court appointee – magistrates’ court Section 38 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 CA1 and guidance
Court appointee – Crown Court Section 4A Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 or section38 Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 CA1 and guidance
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.

Legal Costs Document 1 (magistrates court and appeals to the Crown Court) (MS Word Document, 124KB)

Legal Costs Document 2 (Crown Court proceedings on indictment) (MS Word Document, 130KB)

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.

Guide to allowances (MS Word Document, 160KB)

You can request an extension of time by email at least 7 days before your claim is due.

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
Strand
London WC2A 2LL

Email: scco@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk

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 dcofastrak@justice.gov.uk

All new claims for DCO magistrates and Crown Court claims over £2000 should be submitted on a DCO2 form and emailed to dco@justice.gov.uk

All new Court Appointee claims should be submitted on a CA1 form and emailed to courtappointee@justice.gov.uk

All other claims should be sent to:

Criminal Cases Unit
7th Floor, Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
Manchester
M1 2WD

DX 329701 Manchester 84

Email: manchesterccu@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

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: manchesterccu@legalaid.gsi.gov.uk

Published 1 October 2014
Last updated 15 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Published guidance to accompany forms DCO1 and DCO2
  2. CA1 form for court appointee claims published together with step by step guide.
  3. DCO1 and DCO2 form published.
  4. Information on closure of Birmingham office and all claims and correspondence should now be sent to the Manchester office.
  5. Investigative expenses guidance published.
  6. Updated on National Taxing Team.
  7. How to claim costs for a private prosecutor or court appointee section updated.
  8. Legal costs guides replaced.
  9. Updated with latest rates and scales
  10. First published.