A person’s financial circumstance in the below context refers to the amount of their income, the value of their assets, the value of their liabilities and value of monies owing to them and other appropriate circumstances.
The court is to ensure insofar as practicable, in imposing a fine that the effect of the fine on the person and his dependants is not significantly abated or made more severe by reason of his financial circumstances. Where a person is of full age and is convicted of an offence, the court, in determining the amount of the fine to impose, shall take into account the person’s financial circumstances.
The court, in making a determination and imposing a fine that is greater, less than or equal to the appropriate fine, of any occasion shall not impose a fine that is greater than the maximum fine or less than the minimum to which he would be liable on conviction.
A court is to ensure in so far as possible that where it imposes a fine on a person, the effect of the fine on that person or his dependants is not significantly abated or made more severe by reason of his or her financial circumstances. Where a person is of full age, the court shall, in determining the amount of the fine imposed, o take account of the person’s financial circumstances. The fine must be within the parameters of the permissible fine under the relevant statute.
Absence of Accused
Where a person is convicted in his absence or if a person has been convicted and fails or refuses to furnish the court with the information as to his financial circumstances, the court shall impose such fine as it considers appropriate in respect of the offence concerned, taking into account such information if any as is known to the court concerning those circumstances.
Where a person is convicted in the absence or fails or refuses to provide the court with information as to his financial circumstances, the court may impose such fine as it considers appropriate in respect to the offence concerned. taking into account such information as is known concerning those circumstances.
Accused to give Information
The court may, by direction in writing, require the person convicted to attend before the court and provide such information as it shall require in relation to his or her financial circumstances.
It is an offence knowingly or recklessly to make a statement orally or in writing that is false or misleading in any respect, in respect of the court’s discharge of its functions above. It is subject on summary conviction to a Class B fine or six months imprisonment or an indictment, a fine of €25,000 or up to five years imprisonment or both. A person who fails or refuses to comply with a direction above to attend court is guilty of an offence with similar penalties as above.
Application for Extension
On the application of a person to whom a direction is made, the court may give direction extending the period for payment of the fine for such period as it considers appropriate, provided the period shall not be later than two years after the due date for payment. It may, in consequence of that extension, vary the amounts of the instalments concerned and the intervals at which they are to be paid.
A court shall not extend the period of payment unless it is satisfied that the financial circumstances of the person in respect of whom the extension is granted have changed to the extent that requiring him to comply would cause financial hardship to him or his dependents or the change in the person’s financial circumstances is not due to his culpable neglect.
An applicant is to be made as soon as may be after the change in the person’s financial circumstances and before the expiration of the period of one year or where the court specifies a shorter period, before the expiration of the period so specified. It is to be notified in writing by the person to the Court Service not later than seven days before the date of making the application.
A court, when imposing a fine, shall inform the person of their entitlement to make an application above regarding payment by instalments. The provision only applies to fines greater than €100.
If on the application of a person on whom a fine has been imposed, if the court is satisfied that it is appropriate to allow payment by instalment to avoid undue hardship, the courts may direct accordingly. The amounts of instalments are to be specified, as are the intervals.
If on the application of a person on whom the court has imposed a fine, the court is satisfied that to require the person to pay the fine would cause undue financial hardship to the person or his dependents, the court may direct that the fine be paid by instalments.
Where the court makes a direction in relation to instalments, it may specify the amount of instalments and the intervals at which they are to be paid. A person to whom the direction applies shall pay the final instalment and not later than one year or such shorter period as the court may specify after the due date for payment.
An application may be made to extend the period provided that it shall not be more than two years after the due payment date. The instalments may be varied. The court shall not extend a period for payment of the fine unless it is satisfied with the financial circumstances of the person concerned have changed to the extent that it would cause undue hardship to adhere to the fine as originally imposed.
The court, when imposing a fine consequent on a person being convicted of an offence, may make an order, known as a recovery order, appointing a receiver, to recover the fine concerned or seize and sell property belonging to the person concerned and recover the proceeds from the sale of the property.
A recovery order shall not enter force unless the person in respect of whom it is made fails to pay the fine on its due date for payment. Where the persons so fail, the order shall have effect immediately following the date the Court Service notifies the receiver concerned that he has failed to pay the fine.
The recovery order may authorise the receiver alone or with members of the Gardai
- to enter premises, including a dwelling house, where he has reasonable grounds for believing that the property of the defendant is located.
- to demand and take possession of any properties specified in the order (using reasonable force, if necessary)
- issue receipts in respect of property taken into his possession
- manage, dispose and retain property
- insure the property
- inspect all books and records.
The receiver shall perform his function subject to directions and conditions specified in the recovery orders.
The position is now regulated by statute under the Fines Act 2013.
Publication of Names
The Courts Service may publish a list of names and addresses of persons who have failed to pay fines by the due date. It shall not publish a person’s name or address before the notification of the person’s failure to pay the fine by the due date. The Courts Service shall not publish the name and address if, after the due date and before the publication, the person pays the fine.
The Courts shall remove the name and address of a person on the list, on the Internet not later than eight weeks after it’s published or if the person pays the fine before that period, upon payment.
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