Television Licence Fee: Court Proceedings

House of Lords written question – answered on 29th August 2013.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people in 2012 were summoned to appear at magistrates' courts in England for failure to pay a television licence fee; how many were proceeded against at such courts; how many were found guilty of fee evasion; what percentage of magistrates' work is related to dealing with such crimes; what is the estimated annual cost of this court operation; and what proportion of those charged with licence fee evasion were women.

Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords

The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts of installing or using a television receiver without the appropriate licence, in England, in 2012, can be viewed in the table, which also provides the proportion of which are female.

The Ministry of Justice does not collect data on the cost of proceedings for specific offences in magistrates' courts and therefore is not able to estimate the cost of proceedings for failure to pay a television licence fee in 2012 with sufficient reliability within the time and cost available.

Persons proceeded against magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts of installing or using a television receiver without the appropriate licence (1), England, 2012 (2)(3)
Proceeded against 181880
of which
male 59841
female 121602
not stated 437
Proportion female 67%
Found guilty 155135
of which
male 49477
female 105347
not stated 311
Proportion female 68%

(1) An offence under S363 of the Communications Act 2003

(2) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe

(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used

Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice Ref. PQ HL 1726

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