DEFENDANTS found not guilty in magistrate's courts will no longer have to fight for their legal costs under laws gazetted yesterday. The Costs in Criminal Cases Bill proposes to end the practice whereby innocent parties have to pay costs unless they can show that the prosecution was at fault in bringing the case. The bill brings the system into line with the District and High Courts whereby costs are granted unless there are positive reasons to withhold them. A spokesman for the Legal Department said: 'In the Magistrate's Court, an acquitted person carried the burden of demonstrating that the prosecution was at fault. 'In the District Court and High Court, he would normally be awarded costs, unless he is at fault or the acquittal turns on a technicality.' The bill would give all courts discretion on the question of costs. A ceiling on costs in the Magistrates Court will be set at $15,000, unless otherwise agreed. The Court of Appeal would also be able to award costs to a defendant where it substitutes a sentence substantially different from the one passed by the lower court. Other provisions of the bill allow for appeals against orders for costs and applications for cost assessments.