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The Penalty Notices (Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011) (Enforcement of Fines) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

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Citation and commencement

1.  These Regulations shall be known as the Penalty Notices (Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011) (Enforcement of Fines) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and shall come into operation on the day after Part 6, Chapter 1 of the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 commences.

Interpretation

2.  In these Regulations —

“Chief Constable” means the Chief Constable of Northern Ireland;

“clerk of petty sessions” has the same meaning as in Article 2(4) of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981(1);

“court” means a district judge (magistrates’ court) sitting in or out of petty sessions held pursuant to Article 11 of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981;

“complaint” means complaint for failing to pay a sum payable in default;

“county court division” has the same meaning as in Article 3 of the County Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1980(2)

“defaulter” means a person against whom a sum payable in default has been registered under section 66(1) of the Justice Act;

“defendant” means a defaulter against whom a complaint has been made;

“Justice Act” means the Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011;

“notice of registration” means notice of registration in accordance with Article 66(3) of the Justice Act;

“petty sessions district” has the same meaning as in Article 11 of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981;

“district judge (magistrates’ courts)” means a district judge (magistrates’ courts) appointed under Part II of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981;

“sum payable in default” means a sum registered under section 66 of the Justice Act for enforcement as a fine.

Procedure on registration of a sum payable in default

3.—(1) This regulation applies where the Chief Constable, or a person authorised by him to act in that behalf, issues a registration certificate under section 66 of the Justice Act.

(2) A registration certificate issued under section 66 of the Justice Act shall be registered in –

(a)the petty sessions district in which the offender appears to reside; or

(b)in the event that the offender does not appear to reside in Northern Ireland, in the petty sessions district in which the offence occurred.

(3) The clerk of petty sessions shall upon receipt of such a certificate—

(a)in the Order Book sign the entry required to be made by him by section 67(1) of the Justice Act; and

(b)give the defaulter notice of registration in the form in the Schedule.

(4) A sum payable in default shall be enforced only in accordance with regulations 4, 5 and 6.

Enforcement where defaulter appears to reside in Northern Ireland and fails to pay by due date

4.—(1) This regulation applies where a defaulter has failed to pay a sum payable in default by the due date.

(2) A magistrates’ court may, upon complaint made to him by the clerk of petty sessions, at any time after the expiration of 14 days from the due date and before the expiration of 6 months from that date —

(a)issue and cause to served on the defendant a summons for the appearance of the defendant before a court acting for the same petty sessions district in which the sum payable in default is registered; or

(b)by warrant cause the defendant to be brought before a court acting for the same petty sessions district in which the sum payable in default is registered or for any petty sessions district in the same county court division.

(3) In paragraphs (1) and (2) the “the due date” means—

(a)within the time stated in the notice of registration; or

(b)where any application for a longer time to pay than that stated in the notice of registration has been granted by the court under Article 91(1) of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 the final date by which payment was to have been made; or

(c)where any application for payment by instalments has been granted by the court under Article 91(1) of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 where the defendant has failed to pay any one instalment and the final date by which that instalment was due to have been paid has passed.

(4) A warrant shall not be issued under paragraph (2)(b) unless the complaint is writing and substantiated on oath.

Enforcement where defaulter appears to reside in England, Wales or Scotland and fails to pay by due date

5.—(1) This regulation applies where a defaulter, who appears to the Chief Constable to reside in England, Wales or Scotland, has failed to pay by the due date.

(2) On the registration of any sum payable in default against a defaulter who appears to the relevant person to reside in England, Wales or Scotland, a complaint in accordance with regulation 4 shall not be necessary.

(3) In this regulation, “due date” has the same meaning as in regulation 4(3).

(4) Where paragraph (2) applies, the court may, on the application of the clerk of petty sessions, make such order under the provisions of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 (as modified by regulation 8) relating to the satisfaction and enforcement of sums adjudged to be paid by conviction as it sees fit.

Procedure where warrant issued

6.—(1) Where a defendant has been taken into custody in pursuance of a warrant issued under regulation 4(2)(b) or paragraph (5) of this regulation or the purpose of causing him to be brought before a court he shall, if it will not be practicable to bring him before a court within twenty four hours after he was taken into custody, be brought, as soon as practicable, before a lay magistrate.

(2) If he thinks fit the lay magistrate may discharge the defendant upon the defendant entering into a recognizance for a reasonable amount to appear before a court at the time and place named in the recognizance.

(3) Where a defendant is not so discharged the lay magistrate shall commit him to prison and direct that he shall be brought before a court as soon as practicable thereafter and in any case not later than seven days form the date of such commitment.

(4) A court before which a defendant is brought under regulation 4(2)(b) or paragraph (5) of this regulation may hear the complaint in accordance with regulation 7 or may, if it thinks fit, discharge such person upon his entry into a recognizance for a reasonable amount to appear before a court at the time and place named in the recognizance.

(5) If the defendant fails to appear at the time and place mentioned in a recognizance entered into under paragraph (2) or (4) the court may by warrant cause him to be brought before a court acting for the same petty sessions district in which the sum payable in default is registered or for any other petty sessions district in the same county court division.

Procedure at hearing

7.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2) at the hearing of a complaint the court shall hear the evidence and such representation, if any, as may be made to it by or on behalf of the parties and the court may make such order under the provisions of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 relating to the satisfaction and enforcement of sums adjudged to be paid by a conviction (as modified by regulation 8) as it sees fit.

(2) At the hearing of a complaint, if the defendant or his representative on his behalf admits the truth of the complaint the court may make an order without hearing the evidence.

(3) Where at the time and place appointed for the hearing or adjourned hearing of a complaint the defendant fails to appear, the court may adjourn the hearing or, if satisfied that there are no sufficient grounds for adjournment or further adjournment may, subject to paragraphs (4) and (6), proceed in his absence.

(4) Where the defendant fails to appear in answer to a summons issued under regulation 4(2)(a) the court shall only proceed in his absence if it is proved that the summons was duly served on him or that he is evading service of the summons.

(5) Where a defendant appears at the time and place appointed for the hearing or adjourned hearing of a complaint the court may, if the complainant (having in the case of a warrant issued under regulation 4(2)(b) or 5(5) due notice of the defendant’s arrest) fails to appear —

(a)dismiss the complaint;

(b)order the complaint to be struck out;

(c)adjourn or further adjourn the hearing; or

(d)if evidence has been received on a previous occasion, proceed in the absence of the complainant.

(6) Where at the time and place appointed for the hearing or adjourned hearing of a complaint both the complainant and the defendant fail to appear, the court may —

(a)dismiss the complaint;

(b)order the complaint to be struck out;

(c)adjourn or further adjourn the hearing or;

(d)if evidence has been received on a previous occasion, proceed in the absence of the parties.

Modification of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 in respect of proceedings against defendants

8.  The provisions of the Magistrates’ Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 relating to the satisfaction and enforcement of sums adjudged to be paid by a conviction shall apply to a sum payable in default registered against a defendant as if —

(a)in Article 91(1) the words “, subject to Article 93,” were omitted;

(b)in Article 92(1) the words “and Article 93,” were omitted;

(c)Article 93 were omitted;

(d)in Article 115(1) after the words “this Order”, the words “or under the Penalty Notices (Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011) (Enforcement of Fines) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012” were inserted.

Remittal of sums payable in default

9.  The court may, on the application in writing by the clerk of petty sessions remit the sum so registered or any part of it if the court is satisfied that —

(a)the defaulter or defendant cannot be found;

(b)the defaulter or defendant is living outside Northern Ireland;

(c)the defaulter or defendant is dead;

(d)on the return of a warrant of distress is appears that the money and goods of the defaulter or defendant are insufficient to satisfy the sum.

Right of appeal

10.  A defendant may appeal to a county court against any order of a court made with respect to the enforcement of payment of a sum payable in default as if the order had been made upon his conviction by a magistrates’ court.

Service of document

11.  Section 24 of the Interpretation Act (Northern Ireland) 1954 shall apply in relation to the manner in which a person may be provided with a document for the purpose of enforcing the payment of a sum registered under section 66 of the Order as fine as if in subsection (1) of that section the word “registering” were omitted.

Conduct of proceedings

12.  A civil servant in the Department of Justice designated by the Department although not of counsel or a solicitor may prosecute and conduct any proceedings under these Regulations before a court or a lay magistrate on behalf of the clerk of petty sessions.

Sealed with the Official Seal of the Department of Justice on 14th May 2012

Legal seal

David Ford

Minister of Justice

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