Law Society outrage at ‘back door’ criminal court fees

Law Society outrage at ‘back door’ criminal court fees

Suspects pleading not guilty in the Crown court will risk paying a court fee of £1,200 if convicted under guidelines slipped into legislation without debate in the final days of the current parliament.

Law Society president Andrew Caplen  described the new charges as ‘outrageous’ and a threat to fair trials.

The new set of criminal court charges comes into force from 13 April.

Currently, judges can require criminals to pay fines and costs, while convicted individuals have to pay a mandatory victim of crime surcharge of up to £120.

Defendants convicted by a magistrates’ court for a summary offence on a guilty plea will be charged £150. Conviction in the magistrates’ court at trial of a summary offence will incur a £520 charge.

Those convicted of an either-way offence at a magistrates’ court trial will be charged £1,000.

In the Crown court, a conviction on a guilty plea will be charged £900, while those convicted at a trial on indictment will have to pay £1,200.

The charges have already been criticised for being likely to encourage innocent people to plead guilty.




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