Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 12 - Payment of costs in criminal cases

Project No. 12

Commenced: 1969
Completed: 1972

At the time of the reference, the law provided that in summary trials the court had a general discretion to award costs to acquitted persons. The established practice, however, was not to award costs to the acquitted person where the complainant was a police officer. Similarly, on appeals from summary trials the appellate court had a discretion to award costs except against a police officer. In trials on indictment the law provided that the Crown neither received nor paid costs. This resulted in very few acquitted persons being reimbursed for the legal costs of their defence.

Terms of Reference

In 1969, the Committee was asked to consider whether any alteration was desirable in the law relating to payment of costs to persons acquitted in prosecutions for criminal offences.


The Committee’s recommendations were implemented in 1973 when Parliament passed the Official Prosecutions (Defendants’ Costs) Act 1973 (WA).

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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