Criminal court fees introduced for defendants
Form 13 April 2015 convicted defendants will have to pay court fees ranging from £150 to £1,200 under section 54 Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 which amends section 21A(a) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985.
In the Magistrates’ Court on a guilty plea a defendant will have to pay £150, rising to £520 for conviction on a summary-only offence and £1,000 for an either-way offence. In the Crown Court charges of £900 will be incurred on a guilty plea, rising to £1,200 on conviction.
If a fee is not paid ultimately the court has the discretion to imprison a defendant. The court also has the power to remit fees where there has been compliance with payment terms and no reoffending.
Any court fee due is in addition to any other financial order made, such as prosecution costs, victim surcharges, confiscation, compensation and fines. The aim of the scheme is to raise money for the judicial system from towards those convicted of offences, although there are question marks over how such a scheme will be administrated and whether the cost of doing this will outweigh revenue raised from the fees.
The fees are not discretionary or means tested. Critics of the scheme have raised concern the fees (and their structuring) will put a greater burdens on people with low incomes and may have the effect of placing pressure on innocent people to plead guilty. There has been little discussion and/or consultation in relation to these charges and commentators have noted that the provisions have been swiftly and quietly implemented just before parliament has been dissolved.
Ministry of Justice Factsheet: click here
Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.