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 where the total claim is for £2000 or less. The £2000 limit includes counsel fees but excludes disbursements and VAT. All claims should be e-mailed to email@example.com||DCO1 and guidance|
|DCO magistrates court Non-Fastrak||Dismissed defendant in magistrates court over £2000. All claims should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org||DCO2 and guidance|
|DCO Crown Court appeal||Successful appeal against magistrates’ conviction or sentence All claims should be e-mailed to email@example.com.||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 firstname.lastname@example.org||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||PP1 and guidance|
|Private prosecutor - Crown Court||Costs incurred in Crown Court and magistrates court||PP1 and guidance|
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: email@example.com
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.
You should refer to the Senior Court Costs Office guide
Use HMCTS CE-File system for appeals
Appeals and applications to the Senior Courts Costs Office (SCCO) must now only be made through the online CE-File system. These arrangements came into force on 20 January 2020 and apply to all associated documents and correspondence.
Paper appeals submitted will no longer be accepted by the SCCO. You should ensure your form A and a copy of the written reasons for the appeal are uploaded to HM Courts and Tribunals Service CE-File system. There is an issue fee of £100, which may be paid by card or Payment by Account (PBA) number.
When issuing a new appeal on the CE-File system you must provide details of all the parties in the case. You should specify the Legal Aid Agency as the respondent. In the legal representative section you need to ensure that the Central Legal Team’s details are entered. It should not be necessary to enter these details manually. If you search ‘Central Legal Team’, CE-File will populate the relevant details.
You will need to ensure that a copy of the appeal and all relevant supporting documents are served on the determining authority. This requirement is set out in regulation 10(3) of the Costs in Criminal Cases (General) Regulations 1986. The address for service on the determining authority is:
Central Legal Team (SCCO Appeals)
13th Floor, Zone T (13.51)
102 Petty France,
London SW1H 9AJ
DX 328 London
You should note that unless the Costs Judge otherwise directs:
no further evidence shall be received on the hearing of the appeal
no grounds of objection shall be valid which were not raised before the determining officer on redetermination
If appropriate, you should resubmit your claim in full following receipt of the Costs Judge appeal decision. You should include a copy of the judgment.
We will then consider your claim to see if any payment adjustment needs to be made. The Criminal Cases Unit will notify you when that has been done.
Guidance on the CE-File system is available on this HMCTS GOV.UK page:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
All new claims for DCO magistrates and Crown Court claims over £2000 should be submitted on a DCO2 form and emailed to email@example.com
All new Court Appointee claims should be submitted on a CA1 form and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
All new Private Prosecution claims should be submitted on a PP1 form and emailed to email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org