2. Fees of a public defender
In the event of an acquittal, the costs of the proceedings will be borne by the state – and with them, the so-called necessary expenses. The duty solicitor’s fees will consequently be borne by the state. However, if there is a conviction, the convicted must bear the costs of the criminal proceedings. The court costs bill then includes the criminal defence lawyer’s fees.
The fees of a duty solicitor are laid down by law. They are lower than those of a chosen defence lawyer are. In many cases, it is impossible for a lawyer to offer the best defence at the fees set out for a duty solicitor to cover his costs. Necessary defence should not be “cheap defence”. It is thus possible and to be recommended to make an additional fee arrangement in the event of court-appointed defence. However, everything a lawyer receives from his client or a third party must be stated on the settlement of accounts of the duty defence solicitor submitted to the state. After a certain amount has been exceeded, the payments are deducted, i.e. the claim for reimbursement by the state is reduced.
The appointment of a duty solicitor makes sense in many cases, in order to ensure the continuation of the proceedings and safeguard at least a proportion of the fees for the solicitor. However, the German Institute of Duty Defence Solicitors does not represent a universal remedy against the fundamental problem of criminal proceedings that, in many cases, the statutory fees do not suffice to cover the defence lawyer’s actual efforts.