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  National Taxing Team

Getting help with unreasonable court officials

We have had a number of calls on the Register’s Helpline recently concerning difficulties getting payment out of criminal courts. These have included a refusal to pay VAT on an expert’s bill and a blank refusal to pay an expert witness any professional fees because the magistrates’ court didn’t make a specific order under Regulation 20 of The Costs in Criminal Cases (General) Regulations 1986.

In such cases, the bizarre behaviour of the (often low-ranking) court official has been overcome by having the matter referred by the court concerned to the National Taxing Team (NTT, see http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/national-taxing-team). The NTT website says that the Team deals with the assessment of discretionary costs claims in the criminal courts, including:

  • orders for costs out of central funds to acquitted defendants, private prosecutors and court appointees in the crown and magistrates’ courts
  • discretionary claims for costs under a Representation Order, i.e. litigators’ claims for confiscation proceedings, and advocates’ claims for committals for sentence and appeals to the crown court, as well as breaches of crown court orders
  • discretionary claims under the advocates’ graduated fee scheme, i.e. claims for special and wasted preparation, and fees relating to confiscation proceedings.

But it is the experience of our correspondents that the NTT also deals with questions arising out of payments to expert witnesses. The NTT has offices in Manchester and Birmingham:

National Taxing Team Manchester Region,
2nd Floor, Lee House, 90 Great Bridgewater
Street, Manchester, M1 5JW
Tel: 0161 233 4840

National Taxing Team Birmingham Region,
3rd Floor, Temple Court, 35 Bull Street,
Birmingham, B4 6LG
Tel: 0121 681 3262

We have been told by experts that the staff at the NTT are very helpful. If you are having trouble with a criminal court’s exercise of its discretion on payments to expert witnesses, it may well be worth talking to them. And, if you have the time, do let us know how you get on because the help you receive may in turn assist expert witnesses in other courts.

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Issue 73
May 2012

Family Justice Review
National Taxing Team
Conference notice


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September 2017

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