Court of Appeal Rules against Awarding Costs from Central Funds in Gray v R Case

Citation: [2023] EWCA Crim 1285
Judgment on


The case of Kieran Gray v R [2023] EWCA Crim 1285 is a recent decision from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), which deals with the jurisdiction of the court to award costs out of central funds following a refused leave to appeal against sentence. The principles articulated in this case provide guidance on when the court might exercise this jurisdiction, particularly in cases similar to R v Roberts [2019] EWCA Crim 1270.

Key Facts

The appellant, Kieran Gray, was represented by Hannah Webb, who made an application for costs to be paid out of central funds after leave to appeal against his sentence was refused on 31st October 2023. Notably, Ms. Webb was not formally appointed by the Crown Court, but acted on behalf of the appellant both in the lower court and on appeal. Her representation was ‘deemed’ in accordance with the precedent set in R v Roberts. The central question before the Court of Appeal was whether it was appropriate to award costs from central funds in these circumstances.

The legal principles that underpin this judgment are as follows:

  1. Jurisdiction to Award Costs: The Court acknowledges that it has the jurisdiction to award costs from central funds, notwithstanding a refusal of leave to appeal as per the precedent set in R v Roberts.

  2. Deemed Appointment: The Court references R v Roberts to substantiate that Ms. Webb’s lack of formal appointment by the Crown Court did not impede her deeming as the appellant’s representative, therefore giving her the standing to apply for costs.

  3. Discretion in Awarding Costs: The Court lays down that the same principles governing standard leave to appeal applications would apply in this scenario based on section 16A of the Criminal Appeals Act 1968. This section pertains to when the Crown Court imposes a hospital order.

  4. Reluctance to Award Costs Without Special Reasons: The Court adheres to the general practice of not awarding costs out of central funds unless there is a “particular reason” warranting such an order. This aligns with section 11(1), which involves cases requiring leave for appeals against conviction and/or sentence where ordinarily, costs would not be funded from central sources without just cause.


Upon evaluating the principles and the circumstances of the case, the Court decided not to award costs to Ms. Webb from central funds. The judges acknowledged her diligent representation but highlighted that special reasons to deviate from the general practice were absent. Therefore, her application for the payment of costs out of central funds was refused.


The Court of Appeal’s decision in Kieran Gray v R meticulously applies established legal principles to determine the appropriateness of awarding costs from central funds. The ruling confirmed that even when jurisdiction exists to do so, such awards are not automatic but require particular reasons justifying the departure from the norm. In this instance, the Court found no such reasons and consequently denied the costs application. This case reaffirms the Court’s cautious approach towards awarding costs out of central funds following a refusal of leave to appeal—a relevant precedent for future cases with similar applications.