If you are charged with a summary offence, for example, committing a public nuisance or obstruct police, and the charge is dismissed, there is provision under the Justices Act for making an application for costs against the Commissioner for Queensland Police.

Far too often matters are finalised in Court without an application for costs being made by the defendant.

You can apply for an order for costs on dismissal or in circumstances where the Magistrate chooses to exercise their discretion to do so.  The discretion is not readily exercised in favour of an applicant but it should be attempted in appropriate cases.

You can apply for your costs on a scale which includes the following:-

  • Instructions and preparation for the hearing, including attendance on day 1 of the hearing (up to $1,500.00)
  • Costs for each day of the hearing after day 1 (up to $875.00)
  • Other Court attendances, other than the hearing of the complaint (up to $250.00)

If you have had the expense of legally represented mentions, preparations or attendances at a hearing for a summary offence and your matter is then dismissed, you may hold some prospects of making an application for Costs in accordance with the scale.

In October 2013 Robertson O’Gorman Solicitors made an application for costs on behalf of a client charged with two obstruct police charges.  The police in that case had failed to comply with the Court’s directions to disclose material to the defendant.  We wrote to the prosecution setting out the failure to disclose material and requested that they comply.  The prosecution then obtained the missing material from the police and after considering the material made the decision to discontinue the charges against our client.

Ordinarily the prosecution discontinue summary charges by offering no evidence against the defendant in Court at a mention.  In those circumstances people are usually relieved that the matter is over and give no further consideration to whether there is any avenue to take against the police for the charge being made in the first place.

In our October 2013 case the prosecution offered no evidence against our client and the charges were accordingly dismissed by the Presiding Magistrate.  We then made an application for costs against the Commissioner for Queensland Police for the costs of two represented mentions and preparation for a hearing.

Our application was met with fierce opposition by the prosecution but our application was pressed and ultimately succeeded.  The Presiding Magistrate awarded costs to our client in the sum sought, which was in the amount of $1,600.00.

If you are charged with a summary offence or offences, you must consider whether you hold any prospect of making an application for costs upon dismissal or in other circumstances.  It is important to obtain advice about your options and the procedure involved in pursuing an application in Court.