Review: Criminal Costs and Legal AID

Date01 July 1973
Published date01 July 1973
DOI10.1177/002201837303700311
Reviews
CRIMINAL
COSTS
AND
LEGAL
AID
Butterworths .£8.00
net
by Graham [, Graham-Green, T.D., Chief Master
THI S new edition of Graham-Green's
standard
text-book on costs
in criminal cases (including legal aid) introduces the law
up
to
1st
January,
1973.
The
timing of the publication is perhaps alittle
unfortunate as a consolidating costs in
Criminal
Cases Bill is already
before Parliament,
but
the
author
tells us
that
aCumulative Supple-
ment
will be produced from time to time to keep the book
up
to date.
This is perhaps the best way of doing it as
the
price of the
major
work
would
make
its frequent purchase expensive.
The
pattern
of the book underlines the practicality of the author.
Sections on
the
powers of every type of criminal court (including
Court
Martial
Appeal courts) to
award
costs are followed by detailed
accounts of the practice
and
procedure of each court.
Two
chapters
are
devoted to Legal Aid costs
and
one to the enforcement of orders
for costs
and
legal aid contributions.
Court
officers
and
practitioners
will particularly welcome the chapters on Remuneration on a Solicitor
and
own Client basis
and
that
on Principles
and
Practice of Taxation.
An appendix of nearly 200 pages reproduces the relevant statutory
provisions, Rules
and
Precedents
and
acomparative table for court
martial
appeals.
All in all a very complete
and
satisfying arrangement.
The
transfer from local authorities to the central Government
of liability for costs in criminal cases (effected by the Criminal Justice
Act, 1972) should not, in theory, have
made
any difference in the
method
of assessment of those costs.
So
far
as the Crown Courts
are
concerned this is probably the case,
but
in the Magistrates' Courts these
costs
are
now likely to be scrutinised more carefully since
payment
from acommon
fund
will inevitably lead to a
demand
for greater
uniformity in taxation.
That
has been a dirty word in Magistrates'
Courts, where criminal costs have in the past been assessed on a rough
and
ready basis which
can
vary quite appreciably from
court
to court.
As
the
learned
author
of this excellent book states
"The
practice of
most Magistrates' Courts, however, indicates
that
the
proper
officer
carries
out
the
process of arriving
at
the
amount
of a particular set
of costs with less rigidity
and
greater informality
than
would be associ-
ated
with ataxation." Although
the
author
is kind enough to
add
"This
would seem to be particularly appropriate to Magistrates' Courts,
whose primary function is to dispense justice on a summary basis" one
cannot
help thinking
that
taxation on a less "summary basis" will
become the rule when the Government auditors become alive to
the
situation. Clerks to Justices will be pleased to learn from afoot-note at
page
27
that
where adispute exists
and
the parties consent
the
Chief
Taxing
Master
will, on request,
tax
asolicitor's bill
and
that
request
may
be
made
informally by letter.
This
is something new
and
should
prove of very great value.
225

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