The law relating to costs in criminal cases is rarely straightforward. Nowhere is this more apparent than the vexed question of whether costs incurred before the issue of a charge are recoverable. However, a recent decision by the Supreme Court Costs Office (SCCO) has shed new light on how courts are approaching the question of what constitutes ‘proceedings’ for the purposes of determining costs.

The decision of Master Gordon-Saker in R v Dodd and Ward (T2007 0389) is of particular interest in cases following fatal accidents, which may involve lengthy investigations by the HSE and coroner.

The case concerned the prosecution of Mr Dodd and Mr Ward for a breach of s.7 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This was brought ...

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