Costs in the Local Court

The award of costs in the Local Court is governed by the Criminal Procedure Act 1986. Sections 116 to 120 deal with committal matters, and sections 211 to 218 deal with matters prosecuted summarily.

The award of costs in the Local Court is governed by the Criminal Procedure Act 1986. Sections 116 to 120 deal with committal matters, and sections 211 to 218 deal with matters prosecuted summarily.

Sections 117 and 214 are in almost identical terms, requiring that costs not be awarded in favour of accused persons unless:

(a) that the investigation into the alleged offence was conducted in an unreasonable or improper manner,

(b) that the proceedings were initiated without reasonable cause or in bad faith or were conducted by the prosecutor in an improper manner,

(c) that the prosecutor unreasonably failed to investigate (or to investigate properly) any relevant matter of which it was aware or ought reasonably to have been aware and which suggested either that the accused person might not be guilty or that, for any other reason, the proceedings should not have been brought,

(d) that, because of other exceptional circumstances relating to the conduct of the proceedings by the prosecutor, it is just and reasonable to award professional costs.

Very similar provisions appeared in s81 of the Justices Act, and later s41A of that same act. Many of the decisions below deal with these former sections.

Fosse

Fosse v Dpp and Anor [1999] NSWSC 367

“Similarly in relation to S 81(4)(d) she correctly identified that the defence had to establish something about the conduct of the proceedings being an “exceptional circumstance” other than some matter mentioned in subsections (a)(b) or (c) of S 81(4), to make it just and reasonable for the plaintiff to have his costs. In that regard the mere fact that the proceedings were resolved in his favour was not enough. There had to be something in relation to the manner in which the proceedings were conducted that had led to it being just and reasonable for a costs order to be made.” (emphasis added)”