Courts: Fines

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 18th April 2013.

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Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy Labour, Torfaen

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make an assessment of the relationship between court-imposed fines and (a) reliance on payday loans, (b) homelessness and (c) child poverty.

Photo of Helen Grant Helen Grant The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities

I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) does not have any way of identifying offenders who fall into the groups mentioned.

HMCTS takes the issue of fine enforcement very seriously and as part of the future strategy, HMCTS will be considering numerous ways in which performance can be improved, which could include offender profiling.

The information HMCTS holds on offenders is provided by the prosecuting authorities, the offenders themselves and by using the tracing tools HMCTS has at its disposal such as the Experian credit reference agency and the Department for Work and Pensions customer information system. The means form, which defendants are asked to complete, requests details of income and outgoings, including loan amounts they are repaying and how many dependant children they have, but as many defendants do not provide financial means information to the court, HMCTS does not know what other financial commitments they have.

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