Mr Leon Perera asked the Minister for Law for each year between 2018 and 2022 (a) what is the number of cases in which personal costs orders are sought by the Public Prosecutor against a defence counsel; (b) how many of such orders are granted by the Courts; and (c) what are the maximum and median quantum of personal costs orders (i) sought by the Public Prosecutor and (ii) granted by the Courts respectively.
Mr K Shanmugam: The Courts decide on whether costs should be paid by Counsel. This is so in both civil and criminal cases. This is a power that the Courts have always had. Costs will, generally, be ordered against a defence counsel in criminal cases where (a) the defence counsel acted improperly, unreasonably or negligently; (b) the conduct led to the incurring of unnecessary costs; and (c) it is just, in all the circumstances, to make the order.
There were at least 16 cases between 2018 and 2022 in which the Courts ordered defence counsel to personally pay costs, including civil cases initiated by accused persons which were related to their criminal cases. The maximum and median quantum of the personal costs orders imposed in these cases were $20,000 and $3,750, respectively.
Cases where personal costs orders were sought by the Public Prosecutor against a defence counsel are not specifically tracked. These are steps which take place within the context of Court proceedings.
Ministry of Law
30 November 2022