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Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

Section 29: Supervised activity orders

This Section substitutes a new Article 45 into the Criminal Justice (Northern Ireland) Order 2008.  As well as providing for the imposition of a supervised activity order (“SAO”) when a person is in default of payment, the new Article also now provides for an SAO to be made when the person makes an application for a SAO, default not yet having occurred.

The amount in respect of which an order may be made is increased from £500 to £1000, and this will now include other financial penalties as well as fines (new Article 45(1) of the 2008 Order).

Where the court could have imposed imprisonment but considers that a SAO would be more appropriate in the circumstances, it may make the order instead (new Article 45(2) of the 2008 Order).

A SAO is defined in new Article 45(3) as an order requiring an individual to attend at a place for a period specified in the order to carry out activities as specified by the order.

New Article 45(4) sets out the minimum and maximum hours that must be performed according to the level of the fine. The Department of Justice may amend the maximum amount in respect of which a SAO may be made or the time periods by order (new Article 45(5)).

The Section specifies that the SAO comes into force as soon as it is made (new Article 45(6)) and where part performance of the order has been carried out, the sum outstanding shall be reduced proportionally by the period of part performance (new Article 45(7))

The Section specifies how an order is to be discharged, namely by payment of the amount, performance of the order or imprisonment (new Article 45(8)). The Section also points the reader to Schedule 3 to the 2008 Order where more information on supervised activity orders may be found (new Article 45(9)) and to amendments within that Schedule (Section 29(2)-(8)).

The Section ensures that a SAO cannot be considered as an option in default of a confiscation order (given that under Section 3(2), a confiscation order is outwith the proposed new collection and enforcement arrangements (new Article 45(11)).

Finally, in terms of transitional arrangements, the SAO will operate for those who have already been prosecuted and sentenced as well as for those who have yet to be prosecuted and convicted (Section 29(12)).

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