If you get remanded and are later found not guilty, are you compensated anyway?

Whilst watching an episode of Law and Order in which the defendant is remanded without bail, I have to wonder. if you are later found not guilty, but spent possibly several weeks or months in jail, are you in any way compensated? What if you lost your job because of the arrest? Or you didn’t lose it, but still have wages you didn’t earn because of it?

Do you have to file a civil suit after the fact to try and get them back?

Boy, I’ve always wondered about this, especially in the cases where innocent people have spent YEARS in prison. You’d think they would be (and should be, as far as I’m concerned) awarded millions of dollars!

My google-fu is weak but I know I have heard of compensation for people who did serious time but were later released.

Don’t Commonwealth countries (UK, Australia, Canada, etc) follow the English Rule and award costs to defendents who’ve been acquitted?

I have heard that the innocent person usually fights it but usually doesn’t get anything back. It is not the states fault you were put into prison you had a trial by jury right?

I recall a story (out of the UK?) within the past year where someone who had served extensive time in prison was released after they found out they did not commit the crime. They were released from prison. Several days later they received a bill from the prison for the food and accommodations they used.

Sometimes wrongfully convicted people get *some *compensation: Do the wrongfully imprisoned get compensation? - The Straight Dope

But I think the OP is talking about folks who get denied bail, stand trial, and get acquitted. I’m unware of any jurisdiction that provides compensation for that.

Apparently some jurisdictions do offer some compensation.

Slip Opinions | Social Law Library | Boston, MA (compensation denied).

Damnit, Gfactor! I spent 5 minutes looking for your article and you go and beat to the link! :stuck_out_tongue:

Bear in mind that a bail determination is not supposed to be a predictor of whether or not a defendant is guilty. Rather, it’s supposed to be an assessment of whether the defendant is potentially a flight risk or a danger to others. Thus, an eventual verdict of not guilty does not necessarily mean that the ruling denying bail was incorrect.

http://www.iccl.ie/DB_Data/publications/ICCL%20Position%20Paper%20on%20Bail%20Referendum.pdf (Emphasis added.)

Are you saying that a crime somebody is charged with is not taken into consideration of the bail amount, only the potential sentence, ties to the community, etc?

So the Jury should pay? Kinda seems like that’d make every verdict be Not Guilty. Just incase.

Of course if there was Police or Prosecutorial misconduct, for example if you were framed, then you’d have a good lawsuit.

Costs only apply as a general rule in civil suits (in Canada, at least). There is provision in the Criminal Code for the Crown to pay costs, but it’s for exceptional cases. A routine acquittal does not normally warrant costs.

p.s. - only in the U.S. have I heard costs called “the English rule.” It’s just called costs up here, as a normal part of civil procedure.

Not quite.

It is deducted from their compensation payment after a conviction is quashed.

For instance, this story.

Two men, wrongfully convicted of murdering a child, spent 18 years in prison. One was awarded a compensation payment of £990,000 and the other £506,220, and £60,000 was deducted from each for lodging and accommodation costs.

I’ve always understood the English Rule to be a rule about the award of attorneys’ fees.


The first statement gets the American Rule wrong. Costs are recoverable by the prevailing party in most jurisdictions.

Welcome | New Hampshire Judicial Branch


Here’s a previous thread we did on a similar topic: If you’re found not guilty can you get reimbursed for attorneys fees?

This is a better cite: Henry Cohen, “Awards of Attorneys Fees by Federal Courts, and Federal Agencies,” in Mary Capisio, Ed. Awards of Attorneys Fees by Federal Courts, Federal Agencies and Selected Foreign Countries (2002): Awards of Attorneys Fees by Federal Courts, Federal Agencies and Selected ... - Mary V. Capisio - Google Books (making clear that the rule is about fee-shifting).

IANAL - awarding costs is only done in civil disputes. Even then it’s discretionary, a judge may award full costs, partial costs, or no costs depending on the merits of the case.

In criminal trials a defendant does not need to recover costs - he **has **no costs. A lawyer is provided for him, free of charge, and the bill goes to the government. Whether he’s found guilty or acquitted he does not have to pay his lawyers. Not just the trial, either, he gets free legal representation during the investigation.

(Talking about UK, other Commonwealth countries may differ)