Fifty eight cases were heard by a Magistrates
court in the 12 months to 31 March 2002. Very few are resolved
at the first hearing, and reasons for adjournment vary from failure
to attend to obtaining legal representation. The average length
of adjournment ranges between four to six weeks.
Magistrates have a range of sanctions available
to them. They can:
grant a liability order. A Liability
Order is legal recognition that a debt exists before any method
of enforcement can be used. In the year to 31 March 2002, 1,251
liability orders were granted.
The Agency cannot take any enforcement action
until a Liability Order has been granted. Once granted the Agency
can then take the following actions:
|Year to 31 March 2002
| County Court Judgements
| Third Party Debt Order (Garnishee)
| Charging Order||326 applications
| Committal or disqualification of an individual from holding|
or obtaining a driving licence
Disqualify an individual from holding or obtaining a driving
licence. In the year to 31 March 2002 magistrates considered this
option on five occasions. In all but one of those they suspended
the imposition of the disqualification and a satisfactory payment
arrangement was made by the court for the parent with care. In
one case a disqualification was imposed.
Commit to prison for a maximum period of 42 days. In the
year to 31 March 2002 no individuals were committed to a prison
term. However, 15 cases were considered all of which were suspended,
which is a preferable outcome to committal. As a pre-condition
of suspension a payment arrangement is imposed by the court. Failure
to comply with the payment arrangement results in a further hearing.