The Appeal Costs Board: introduction

 

The Appeal Costs Board (“the Board”) is responsible for the administration of the Appeal Costs Act 1998 (Vic) (“AC Act”). The Board serves a function similar to that of a compensation tribunal: in certain circumstances it may partly reimburse people for legal costs incurred as a result of circumstances beyond their control (e.g. judicial errors).

Legal costs that can be reimbursed include:

solicitors’ fees;

barristers’ fees;

witness expenses;

interpreters’ fees.

Legal costs that can not be reimbursed include:

wages lost by an applicant’s attendance at court.

(For more information about which legal costs can be reimbursed, seeMore about legal costs”.)

There are six main categories for reimbursement of costs:

Civil trials

1successful appeals;

2 discontinued trials;

Criminal trials

3 adjournments;

4 successful appeals;

5 appeals by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP);

6 discontinued trials.

In recent years the AC Act has undergone many changes that affect how the Board functions. The amendments:

1 introduce the requirement that a court must consider an order for costs before granting an indemnity certificate when a criminal proceeding is adjourned;

2limit the number of days a court can issue an indemnity certificate for, and cap the payments (for current capped payments, see the Victoria Government Gazette website at www.gazette.vic.gov.au);

3 prevent the Board from making payments to certain companies (s 35A AC Act); and

4 set a time limit within which applications for payment must be made.

Indemnity certificates

Before a matter can be considered by the Appeal Costs Board, the relevant court (i.e. the court in which the matter was heard) must issue an indemnity certificate.