Courts: Fines

Justice written question – answered on 20th July 2010.

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Photo of Kris Hopkins Kris Hopkins Conservative, Keighley

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he plans to take to reduce the number of fines and other financial penalties uncollected by Her Majesty's Court Service.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

Her Majesty's Courts Service has in place a strategy to increase the success of compliance with court orders particularly with regard to financial penalties-the Criminal Compliance and Enforcement Services Blueprint. This was launched in July 2008 and is being implemented across HMCS. The blueprint sets out HMCS's strategic objective for enforcement which is for a cheaper, faster and more proportionate system that primarily focuses on 'first time' compliance while continuing to apply the principles of rigorous enforcement to the hard core of defaulters. The blueprint implementation ensures greater use of the sanctions available under the Courts Act 2003 and extended methods of payment.

Performance in relation to the collection of financial penalties is being closely monitored across all areas of HMCS and any area where performance is below target is being challenged by a central team who will assist the area in identifying areas for improvement and set targets for increased collection.

In the 2009-10 financial year HMCS collected £12.5 million (5%) more cash against financial penalties than in the 2008-09 year.

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Posted on 21 Jul 2010 12:23 pm (Report this annotation)

Why not collect fines via a tax code change or collection from benefits? If taken from benefits, this amount would still be classed as income so that it actually causes hardship rather than enabling a further claim for more benefits.

This way the money is collected, the offender is punished and the cost of bailiffs and other collection costs are reduced. A clear win-win situation.