Section 213 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) provides that a court may, at the end of summary proceedings, order that the prosecutor pay professional costs to the accused person if the matter is dismissed or withdrawn.
The existence of the word ’may’ gives the court a discretion as to whether to, or not to, order costs.
Section 213 (2) of the Act provides that the amount of costs that the court may order is to be the amount that the Magistrate considers to be ‘just and reasonable’. And sub section (5) provides that the court must specify the amount of costs payable.
Section 214 (1) of the Act imposes limits on the courts ability to award costs to an accused person. It provides that professional costs are not to be awarded in favour of an accused person unless the court is satisfied:-
(a) that the investigation into the alleged offence was conducted in an unreasonable or improper manner,
(b) that the proceedings were initiated without reasonable cause or in bad faith or were conducted by the prosecutor in an improper manner,
(c) that the prosecutor unreasonably failed to investigate (or to investigate properly) any relevant matter of which it was aware, or ought to reasonably to have been aware, and which suggested either that the accused person might not be guilty or that for any other reason the proceedings should not have been brought,
(d) that, because of other exceptional circumstances relating to the conduct of the proceedings by the prosecutor, it is just and reasonable to award professional costs.
Section 214 (2) of the Act provides that the section does not apply to the awarding of costs against a prosecutor acting in a private capacity.
So if you wish to apply for costs, you will have to persuade the court of either of subparagraphs (a), (b), (c) or (d), and then persuade the court to exercise its discretion.