Court fines could potentially be paid through ‘retail add-on’ providers
In a move to reduce the number of people sent to prison each year for the non-payment of a fine, the Courts Service has issued a request for tenders from service providers
18 September 2014
The Courts Service has issued a request for tenders (RFT) from prospective service providers and payment agents, which would allow those with court fines to pay their fine through existing channels or in stages, through approved authorised outlets.
In a press release, the Courts Service said the move would allow for the payment of fines, through a number of means including online, over the phone, visit to court office, by post and in instalments through an approved authorised outlet.
The request for tenders follows the enactment of The Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014 in April 2014. This has introduced a number of new features including the ability to pay a fine by instalment over 12 months. One of its main objectives is to reduce the number of people sent to prison each year for the non-payment of a fine.
The Courts Service added it is important that “the methods of payment of a fine are as simple and convenient as possible”. Currently, the management of court imposed fines falls within the remit of the Courts Service but also involves An Garda Síochána and the Irish Prison Service.
The new legislation and the planned new service of paying fines locally through instalment – aims to significantly reduce the involvement of An Garda Síochána and the Irish Prison Service in the fines process. New powers of enforcement are outlined in the legislation along with the option of payment by instalment.
Failure to pay a fine will now lead to the fined person being returned to court and the probable imposition of further sanctions by the judge. These sanctions include attachment of earnings, appointment of a receiver to collect the fine, or community service.
The Courts Service added that in order “to encourage maximum compliance for the payment of fines, we are seeking to make it as convenient as possible to pay court imposed fines”.