Unfair Criminal Court Charge, have you been subject to it? If so, we want you to speak to us.

Just before the election, in his last disgraceful act the outgoing Lord Chancellor passed the little known criminal courts charge into the Criminal Justice and Courts Act. This has significantly changed sentencing as it is a mandatory financial penalty upon conviction, which adds to the list of compensation, victim surcharge and prosecution costs. The charge was introduced in April across all courts from the Magistrates’ to the Court of Appeal. A guilty plea in the Magistrates Court is £150, whereas in the Crown Court the fee could be £900 for a guilty plea. After conviction in the Crown Court you could be looking at £1200.

Organisations such as Howard League for Penal Reform, Justice and Prison Advice Service have raised concerns about the charge. A number of Magistrates have resigned in disgust.

We have heard horror stories of Judge’s being unable to award victim’s compensation because they have had to impose the £900 charge. In another example a man who failed to answer court bail, who was given 1 day custody was charged £1200.

This is a punitive and blatantly unfair charge. Have had the charged imposed? Do you believe it is unfair? Are you struggling to pay it?

We want to hear from you.

Dean Kingham, Head of Crime, Prison law and Public law at Swain and Co LLP has the following thoughts on the charge, “It is a grossly unfair charge, which was the last stinging act of Chris Grayling. It is bringing the Justice system into disrepute and stopping Judge’s acting as they see fit. We are hearing horror stories on a daily basis. We want to challenge this new charge and want anyone affected by it to contact us urgently. Magistrates resigning in disgust at the charge show the strength of feeling against it”.

Contact us now on 02392 483322 or at dkingham@swaincohavant.uk.com

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