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Courts: Costs and Fines

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 126654, tabled on 21 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish figures for (a) unpaid court fines, (b) debt from compensation orders and (c) unpaid court costs for each court in England and Wales.

Answered on

3 March 2022

The information requested under (a), (b), (c) has been provided in the attached table, as at 31st March 2021. It is not currently possible to provide the same information specifically for each court in England and Wales. The data has been supplied by areas as used by the HMCTS case management system.

The Government takes the recovery and enforcement of all financial impositions very seriously and remains committed to ensuring impositions are paid. The courts will do everything within their powers to trace those who do not pay and use a variety of means to ensure the recovery of criminal fines and financial penalties.

This includes deducting money from an individual offender’s earnings or benefits if they are unemployed or issuing warrants instructing approved enforcement agents to seize and sell goods belonging to the offender. If the offender does not pay as ordered and the money cannot be recovered by other means, then the court can take other actions which includes sending them to prison for non-payment of the fine.

This Government believes that it is important for offenders to make reparation for their crimes. In recent years, we have therefore legislated to require courts to give reasons where no compensation order is made in appropriate cases and lifted the £5,000 cap on compensation awards in respect of offenders aged 18 or over in the magistrates’ court.

In addition, this Government removed the £5,000 cap for level 5 fines in the magistrates’ court in 2015 and increased the minimum Victim Surcharge payment from £20 to £34 in 2016.

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