As we have heard, the amendments seek to prevent the courts from imposing on young people under 18 the new proposed maximum fine of £2,500 for a breach of their youth rehabilitation order. They would restrict the maximum fine to £250 for under-16s, and £1,000 for 16 to 17-year-olds.
The youth rehabilitation order is the community sentence for under-18-year-olds. We intend to bring the fine limit for the breach of a youth rehabilitation order into line with that of the breach of an adult order. We wish to ensure that sentencers and the public have confidence in community sentences and that punishments for breach are robust. Where the young person or their parent have sufficient means, the court should be able to impose a substantial fine if the child fails to comply with the court’s sentence. Courts will still be required to consider the offender’s means when setting a fine. We do not expect courts to impose a very high fine where there is no prospect of a child or the parent being able to pay it. This is not totemic. There will be cases where plainly the parent—or indeed the child—may have the means to pay the fine, in which circumstance we think it is appropriate, because it will drive home the message that community sentences must be completed and that robust penalties will be imposed if the offender fails to comply.