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Courts Act 2003

Fees, costs and fines

Part 2: Immediate payment of fines: discounts

258.Part 2 deals with fines which are paid immediately.

259.Paragraphs 4 - 6 provide that P is eligible for a discount on the fine if the sum due less the amount of the discount is paid immediately. They empower the Lord Chancellor (not the fines officer) to make regulations setting out the amount of the discount (so the percentage may be changed without requiring further primary legislation). The maximum discount allowed is 50%. The purpose of the discount is to provide an incentive for offenders to pay their fines promptly. The discount does not apply to any compensation or costs element of the sum due.

260.By virtue of paragraph 4, the discount is not available:

  • if P is an existing defaulter (unless the court has accepted that there is a good reason for the default and is prepared to allow the discount - such cases are likely to be rare). The underlying philosophy is that the discount should not be available to offenders who are currently in default; or

  • if the sum due is a fixed penalty registered as a fine (unpaid fixed penalties are increased prior to registration as a fine). It would be if the offender was able to wipe out the increase in the fixed penalty by promptly paying up once the money owed was registered as a fine.

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