You have given your evidence in court, you have been cross-examined by the prosecution, and now you sit anxiously in the courtroom as the verdict is about to be read out. You hear the two words that you are longing for, “Not Guilty” and as you feel relieved, a thought might enter your head, “What next?”.

It is a thought many people who have been found not guilty have, because whilst we all know the repercussions of a guilty verdict, few people are aware of what next steps there are when the verdict is not guilty. In most instances, it is not just a case of thanking your criminal lawyer and heading off for a celebration, as there are other considerations.

These are likely to include many of the financial aspects of your criminal trial such as court fees, lawyer’s fees and whether or not you might be entitled to compensation. To give you some guidance on these, here are four facts you should know about compensation and fees following a not guilty verdict.

You Do Not Pay Court Costs

If you are found not guilty, then you are not liable for the court costs. However, you may have accumulated costs as part of the process, and these are reimbursed to you. The process requires you a cost certificate which is issued by the court, and this is then submitted by yourself or your legal representative to the Department of Justice who will then reimburse you.

You Can Claim Legal Costs

To call it ‘claiming compensation’ is not really the correct terminology as it implies that you are being awarded damages for being taken to trial, and that is not how this works. What you are claiming here are your legal costs which is also done via a cost certificate. A cost certificate leads to a compensation order being raised to reimburse a defendant for what they have spent in two distinct areas.

These are the costs of your defence, which includes your criminal lawyers and the secondary costs they incur in mounting your defence which could include support staff, and so on. The second element is anything that you have spent on court fees as we mentioned previously.

The Amount You Receive Has Strict Guidelines

Whilst you can claim court costs and legal costs, the amount payable to you will be calculated under strict guidelines and you will only receive costs for what is deemed reasonable for your defence. This means that you cannot go out and hire an entire team of six of the country’s top law firms, a team of private investigators, a handwriting specialist and a criminal psychologist and expect to be compensated for what they cost you if all you are charged with is graffiti.

The specifics of how the calculation is made can be found in The Legal Profession (Official Prosecutions) (Accused’s Costs) Determination 2018 and what it seeks to do is ensure that the amount payable is equitable for everyone who has been found not guilty.

You Can Sue The Police

This is a serious step to take and should not be done without full legal guidance. If you feel your prosecution was malicious, you were maltreated in any way or were assaulted at any time during your interaction with the police, these may be grounds to sue the police. Bear in mind the tables are turned, and it would be you who has the burden of proof this time.