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This note outlines the provisions under which an acquitted defendant may be entitled to recover his legal costs from central funds.
In particular, it considers the recent introduction of a "cap" on the amount that may be recovered. The cap, introduced in October 2009, provides that an acquitted defendant who paid for private legal representation will only able to recover his costs at legal aid rates, even where these are lower than the commercial rates his private lawyers actually charged. The defendant will be responsible for meeting any difference. Following a judicial review application by the Law Society, in June 2010 the High Court ruled that the October 2009 pay rates were unlawful.

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