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Courts Bill [HL]


Courts Bill [HL]
Schedule 3 — Collection of fines by fines officers
Part 1 — Introduction

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Schedule 3

Section 36

 

Collection of fines by fines officers

Part 1

Introduction

Application of Schedule

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  1       (1)      This Schedule applies if—

              (a)             a person (“P”) is liable to pay a sum which—

                    (i)                   consists of or includes a fine, and

                    (ii)                  is or is treated for the purposes of Part 3 of the 1980 Act as a

sum adjudged to be paid by conviction of a magistrates’

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court, and

              (b)             sub-paragraph (4) or (5) applies to P.

          (2)      In this Schedule “the sum due” means the sum adjudged to be paid as

mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(a).

          (3)      In this Schedule “fine” does not include any pecuniary penalty, pecuniary

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forfeiture or pecuniary compensation payable on conviction.

          (4)      This sub-paragraph applies to P if, under section 75(1) of the 1980 Act, a

magistrates’ court has decided to—

              (a)             allow time for payment of the sum due, or

              (b)             order payment by instalments of the sum due.

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          (5)      This sub-paragraph applies to P if, under section 139(1) or 141 of the 2000

Act, the Crown Court has decided to—

              (a)             allow time for payment of the sum due, or

              (b)             order (or direct) payment by instalments of the sum due.

Court’s power to make a collection order

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  2       (1)      Where this Schedule applies, the court may make an order in relation to P (a

“collection order”) that payment of the sum due is to be enforced through

the fines collection scheme.

          (2)      The collection order must—

              (a)             identify the fines officer who is to have the powers conferred by this

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Schedule,

              (b)             state the amount of the sum due, the amount of the fine and the

amount of any other part of the sum due,

              (c)             state the initial terms of the order, and

              (d)             contain information about how the fines collection scheme works.

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          (3)      “The initial terms of the order” means—

              (a)             if the court has decided that time should be allowed for payment, the

period within which the sum due is required to be paid;

              (b)             if the court has decided that P should pay by instalments, the

amounts of the instalments and the dates on which they must be

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paid.

          (4)      If P is subject to a collection order—

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Schedule 3 — Collection of fines by fines officers
Part 2 — The fines collection scheme: main components

    67

 

              (a)             the fines collection scheme applies to him, and

              (b)             the powers of any court to deal with his liability to pay the sum due

are subject to the provisions of the scheme.

          (5)      “The fines collection scheme” means—

              (a)             this Schedule, and

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              (b)             regulations made by the Lord Chancellor for the purpose of giving

effect to it (“fines collection regulations”).

Identification of the fines officer

  3       (1)      The collection order may identify the fines officer by giving the address of a

fines office.

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          (2)      If it does so, any fines officer working in the fines office is to be treated as the

fines officer in relation to the collection order.

Part 2

The fines collection scheme: main components

Meaning of “in default”

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  4        For the purposes of this Schedule, P is in default on a collection order if he

fails to pay any amount due under the terms of the order on the date on

which it is required to be paid.

Nature of power to vary terms of collection order, and to vary them in P’s favour

  5       (1)      A power to vary the terms of a collection order includes power to—

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              (a)             substitute terms requiring payment by instalments for a term

allowing time for payment, or

              (b)             substitute a term allowing time for payment for terms requiring

payment by instalments.

          (2)      Subject to sub-paragraph (1), a power to vary the terms of a collection order

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under which the sum due is required to be paid on a specified date is a

power to vary the date on which the sum due is to be paid.

          (3)      Subject to sub-paragraph (1), a power to vary the terms of a collection order

under which the sum due is required to be paid by instalments is a power to

vary—

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              (a)             the number of instalments payable;

              (b)             the amount of any instalment;

              (c)             the date on which any instalment becomes payable.

          (4)      Any variation of the terms of a collection order under which smaller

instalments are required to be paid over a longer period is to be regarded as

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a variation in P’s favour.

Discount on fine if the sum due is paid without default

  6       (1)      A discount on a fine is available if—

              (a)             the terms of the collection order require the sum due (or an

outstanding part of the sum due) to be paid within a specified

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period, and

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Schedule 3 — Collection of fines by fines officers
Part 2 — The fines collection scheme: main components

    68

 

              (b)             the sum due (or the outstanding part of the sum due), less the

amount of the discount, is paid at or before the end of that period

without P having been at any time in default on the order.

          (2)      A discount on a fine is also available if—

              (a)             the terms of the collection order require the sum due (or outstanding

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amounts of the sum due) to be paid by instalments, and

              (b)             the instalments (or the outstanding instalments), less the amount of

the discount, are paid without P having been at any time in default

on the order.

          (3)      The amount of the discount is to be determined in accordance with fines

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collection regulations but must not be greater than 50% of the fine.

          (4)      The discount is given effect by extinguishing P’s liability to pay the part of

the sum due that is equal to the amount of the discount.

          (5)      Sub-paragraphs (1) and (2) do not apply if P is in default—

              (a)             on another collection order, or

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              (b)             in payment of a sum due in respect of which no collection order has

been made.

Application to fines officer for variation of the initial terms of the order

  7       (1)      P may, at any time—

              (a)             after the collection order is made, and

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              (b)             before he is in default on it,

                   apply to the fines officer for the initial terms of the order to be varied.

          (2)      On such an application being made, the fines officer may decide—

              (a)             to vary the initial terms of the order in P’s favour, or

              (b)             not to vary them.

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          (3)      A decision of the fines officer under this paragraph must be in writing, dated

and delivered to P.

          (4)      Subject to paragraph 8, the effect of a decision under sub-paragraph (2)(a) is

that the collection order has effect with the terms varied in the way decided

by the fines officer.

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Appeal against decision of fines officer

  8       (1)      P may, within 10 working days from the date of the decision under

paragraph 7, appeal to a magistrates’ court against the decision.

          (2)      On an appeal under this paragraph the magistrates’ court may—

              (a)             confirm or vary the initial terms of the collection order, or

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              (b)             discharge the order and exercise any of its standard powers in

respect of persons liable to pay fines.

Increase in fine on first default

  9       (1)      This paragraph applies if—

              (a)             P is in default on the collection order, and

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              (b)             none of the following is pending—

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Schedule 3 — Collection of fines by fines officers
Part 2 — The fines collection scheme: main components

    69

 

                    (i)                   an application under paragraph 7 (application to fines officer

for variation of the initial terms of the order);

                    (ii)                  an appeal under paragraph 8 (appeal against decision of fines

officer);

                    (iii)                 a reference under paragraph 17 (power of fines officer to refer

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case to magistrates’ court).

          (2)      An increase is imposed on the fine which is the subject of the order.

          (3)      The amount of the increase is to be determined in accordance with fines

collection regulations but must not be greater than 50% of the fine.

          (4)      The increase is given effect by treating it as part of the fine imposed on P on

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his conviction.

          (5)      But the liability to pay the part of the fine representing the increase—

              (a)             ranks after the liability to pay any other part of the sum due, and

              (b)             is subject to paragraphs 11(6) and 14(2) (liability to increase

extinguished in cases of subsequent compliance).

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Notice of increase

  10       If an increase is imposed the fines officer must deliver a notice to P (an

“increase notice”)—

              (a)             informing P of the increase, and

              (b)             requiring P, within 10 working days from the date of the notice, to

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contact him, in person or in writing, with a view to explaining why

he is in default on the order.

Effect of compliance with requirement to contact fines officer

  11      (1)      This paragraph applies if P contacts the fines officer as required by an

increase notice.

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          (2)      The fines officer may decide—

              (a)             to vary the terms of the collection order in P’s favour, or

              (b)             not to vary it.

          (3)      A decision of the fines officer under sub-paragraph (2) must be in writing,

dated and delivered to P.

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          (4)      P may, within 10 working days from the date of the decision under sub-

paragraph (2), appeal to a magistrates’ court against the decision.

          (5)      Subject to paragraph 14 (powers of court after increase), the effect of a

decision under sub-paragraph (2)(a) is to vary the terms of the order.

          (6)      If, after the terms of the order are varied by virtue of sub-paragraph (2)(a),

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all amounts due under the order, other than the part of the fine representing

the increase, are paid without P being in further default on the order, P’s

liability to pay that part is extinguished.

Functions of fines officer in relation to defaulters: referral or further steps notice

  12      (1)      This paragraph applies if P fails to contact the fines officer as required by an

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increase notice.

          (2)      This paragraph also applies if—

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Schedule 3 — Collection of fines by fines officers
Part 2 — The fines collection scheme: main components

    70

 

              (a)             P contacts the fines officer as required by an increase notice,

              (b)             the fines officer decides not to vary the collection order, and

              (c)             no appeal under paragraph 11(4) (appeal against decision about

variation following increase) is pending.

          (3)      This paragraph also applies if, after the increase is imposed—

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              (a)             there is a relevant variation of the terms of the collection order, but

              (b)             P is again in default on the order.

          (4)      “Relevant variation in the terms of the collection order” means—

              (a)             a variation under paragraph 11(2)(a) (variation in P’s favour

following increase) in relation to which no appeal under paragraph

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11(4) is pending, or

              (b)             a variation under paragraph 14(3)(a) (variation by court) on an

appeal under paragraph 11(4).

          (5)      The fines officer must—

              (a)             refer P’s case to the magistrates’ court, or

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              (b)             deliver to P a notice (a “further steps notice”) that he intends to take

one or more of the steps listed in paragraph 13.

          (6)      Any steps that the fines officer intends to take must be specified in the notice.

          (7)      A further steps notice must be in writing and dated.

          (8)      P may within 10 working days from the date of the further steps notice

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appeal to the magistrates’ court against it.

The range of further steps available against defaulters

  13      (1)      The steps referred to in paragraphs 12(5)(b) and 14(3) and (4) (powers to take

further steps) are—

              (a)             issuing a warrant of distress for the purpose of levying the sum due;

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              (b)             registering the sum in the register of judgments and orders required

to be kept by section 96;

              (c)             making an attachment of earnings order;

              (d)             subject to sub-paragraph (3), making a clamping order;

              (e)             taking any other step permitted under provisions of fines collections

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regulations which apply any other enforcement power of a

magistrates’ court (with or without modifications).

          (2)      A clamping order is an order—

              (a)             that a motor vehicle be fitted with an immobilisation device

(“clamped”), and

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              (b)             which complies with any requirements that are imposed by fines

collection regulations under paragraph 18 with respect to the making

of clamping orders.

          (3)      But a clamping order must not be made except in relation to a vehicle which

is registered under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (c. 22) in P’s

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name.

Powers of court after increase

  14      (1)      This paragraph applies if the magistrates’ court is hearing P’s case

following—

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Schedule 3 — Collection of fines by fines officers
Part 2 — The fines collection scheme: main components

    71

 

              (a)             an appeal against a decision under paragraph 11(4) (appeal against

decision about variation following increase),

              (b)             a referral under paragraph 12(5)(a) (functions of fines officer in

relation to defaulters), or

              (c)             an appeal under paragraph 12(8) (appeal against a further steps

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notice).

          (2)      If the magistrates’ court is satisfied that the circumstances of P’s case are

exceptional, it may make an order that if, after the making of the order, all

amounts due under the collection order, other than the part of the fine

representing the increase, are paid without P being in further default on the

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order, P’s liability to pay that part is extinguished.

          (3)      On an appeal or referral falling within sub-paragraph (1)(a) or (b), the court

may—

              (a)             vary the terms of the collection order;

              (b)             take any of the steps listed in paragraph 13;

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              (c)             discharge the order and exercise any of its standard powers in

respect of persons liable to pay fines.

          (4)      On an appeal against a further steps notice, the court may—

              (a)             confirm or quash the notice;

              (b)             vary the notice so as to specify any step listed in paragraph 13.

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Implementation of further steps notice

  15       If—

              (a)             P does not appeal within 10 working days against a further steps

notice, or

              (b)             he does so but the further steps notice is confirmed or varied,

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           any step specified in the notice (or the notice as varied) may be taken.

Power to order sale of clamped vehicle

  16      (1)      This paragraph applies if—

              (a)             a motor vehicle has been clamped under a clamping order, and

              (b)             at the end of the period specified in fines collection regulations under

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paragraph 18 any part of the sum due is unpaid.

          (2)      The magistrates’ court may order that—

              (a)             the vehicle is to be sold or otherwise disposed of in accordance with

those regulations, and

              (b)             any proceeds are to be applied in accordance with those regulations

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in discharging P’s liability in respect of the sum due.

Power of fines officer to refer case to magistrates’ court

  17      (1)      The fines officer may refer a case to the magistrates’ court at any time during

the period which—

              (a)             begins the day after the collection order is made, and

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              (b)             ends with the date on which—

                    (i)                   the sum due (including any increase) is paid in full, or

                    (ii)                  the order is discharged.

 

 

Courts Bill [HL]
Schedule 3 — Collection of fines by fines officers
Part 3 — Supplementary provisions

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          (2)      On a referral under this paragraph, the court may—

              (a)             confirm or vary the terms of the order,

              (b)             discharge the order and exercise any of its standard powers in

respect of persons liable to pay fines, or

              (c)             to the extent permitted by fines collection regulations, exercise a

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power it could exercise under any other paragraph.

          (3)      Fines collection regulations may provide for the fines officer to have the

power to issue a summons for the purpose of ensuring that P attends a

magistrates’ court to whom P’s case has been referred under this or any

other paragraph.

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Part 3

Supplementary provisions

Supplementary provision with respect to clamping orders

  18      (1)      Fines collection regulations may, for the purpose of giving effect to the

powers to make clamping orders and to order the sale of clamped motor

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vehicles, make provision in connection with—

              (a)             the fitting of immobilisation devices;

              (b)             the fitting of immobilisation notices to motor vehicles to which

immobilisation devices have been fitted;

              (c)             the removal and storage of motor vehicles;

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              (d)             the release of motor vehicles from immobilisation devices or from

storage (including the conditions to be met before the vehicle is

released);

              (e)             the sale or other disposal of motor vehicles not released.

          (2)      Fines collection regulations must provide that an immobilisation device may

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not be fitted to a vehicle—

              (a)             which displays a current disabled person’s badge, or

              (b)             in relation to which there are reasonable grounds for believing that it

is used for the carriage of a disabled person.

          (3)      In this Schedule—

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               “disabled person’s badge” means a badge issued, or having effect as if

issued, under regulations made under section 21 of the Chronically

Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (c. 44) (badges for display on

motor vehicles used by disabled persons);

               “immobilisation device” has the same meaning as in section 104(9) of

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the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (c. 27) (immobilisation of

vehicles illegally parked);

               “motor vehicle” means a mechanically propelled vehicle intended or

adapted for use on roads, except that section 189 of the Road Traffic

Act 1988 (c. 52) (exceptions for certain vehicles) applies for the

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purposes of this Schedule as it applies for the purposes of the Road

Traffic Acts.

Meddling with vehicle clamp

  19      (1)      A person commits an offence if he removes or attempts to remove—

              (a)             an immobilisation device, or

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