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Courts Act 2003

Fees, costs and fines

Part 1: Introductory

253.Paragraph 1 defines the types of financial penalty to which the Schedule applies. The Schedule applies if the sum a person ('P' - the offender), who is over 18, is liable to pay consists of or includes a fine. 'Fine' does not include pecuniary forfeiture or compensation. If P is not liable to pay a fine no collection order may be made. But if he is liable to pay a fine other sums he is liable to pay, such as compensation, may also be collected under the new regime.

254.Paragraph 2 defines 'the sum due'. The definition includes compensation and costs. This definition is important in differentiating fines (which may be subject to a discount or increase - see below) from compensation, costs or fixed penalties registered as fines.

255.Paragraph 3 defines 'existing defaulter'. The effect of paragraph 3 is that P is classed as an existing defaulter if he is currently in default on any fine or similar sum ordered to be paid by the court (whether or not a collection order has been made under this schedule), unless he can show an adequate reason for the default.

256.In the case of fixed penalties registered as fines, there will already have been opportunities for the offender to show he has good reason for being in default. Therefore, once the unpaid penalty has reached the stage of being registered as a fine, no excuses will be accepted and the offender will be classed as an existing defaulter.

257.Paragraph 3 also defines 'immediately' as meaning, where the offender has been informed of his liability to pay in a notice, that he must pay within 10 working days of the date of the notice.

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