Appeal Costs Board: Introduction

The Appeal Costs Board (ACB) is responsible for the administration of the Appeal Costs Act 1998 (Vic) (“AC Act”). The ACB 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 because an applicant attended court.

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

The six categories of reimbursement costs are:

Civil trials:

1 successful appeals;

2 discontinued trials;

Criminal trials:

3 adjournments;

4 successful appeals;

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

6 discontinued trials.

Recently, the AC Act has undergone many changes that affect how the ACB functions. The amendments:

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

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

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

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

Indemnity certificates

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