Fines collection holds steady during COVID-19

Nov 19, 2020

The latest Quarterly Fines Report 46 is published today by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and shows that fines collection rates have held consistently strong in spite of the effects of the Coronavirus crisis.

The new report, which covers the financial years 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 Q1 as measured at 19 Oct 2020, shows that the three-year collection rate for sheriff court fines, by value paid or on track to be paid, remains steady at 86%. The collection rate for Justice of the Peace Court fines is 85%, up one percentage point. 

SCTS has recognised that individuals face the very real risk of suffering significant financial hardship during the Coronavirus crisis and has focussed on fines collection measures that enable Fines Enforcement Officers to provide information, advice and support to customers who are struggling to maintain their payments. 

Some 2,500 new payment terms have been agreed with offenders within the three months prior to 19 October 2020, following the introduction of a dedicated helpline and an online form to simplify the process for customers to seek information and advice. Liability to pay fines remains, however, and failure to engage with fines officers will result in enforcement action being taken.

Customers can pay easily using our 24/7 online and telephone payment channels. More than £5m has been paid through these channels in the past 12 months.

The latest QFR contains a new bespoke section on Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued by police in relation to Coronavirus regulations. More than a third of the value of these penalties has already been paid. The new section has been provided in the light of high levels of interest in these FPNs and this information will continue to be updated in upcoming reports.

Updated figures on collection of the Victim Surcharge are also published in QFR 46 and show that 73% of the value of these penalties has been paid as at 19 October 2020. The Victim Surcharge penalty was introduced by the Scottish Government at the end of 2019 on fines relating to offences committed on or after 25 November 2019.

Commenting on QFR 46, Chief Operations Officer David Fraser said: “We recognise the impact that Coronavirus can have on fines payers and we are maintaining additional support, with information and advice, to take account of that. The strong rates over time, evident in this report, show that our processes and systems are maintaining efficient collection during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We will employ robust sanctions against offenders who we are satisfied have failed to pay without reasonable excuse. The message to fines customers remains clear – continue to pay your fines or seek advice if you are struggling. Doing nothing is not an option.

“I am also pleased to be able to include in the new report, the bespoke figures on COVID-related FPNs which will be of wide public interest and further demonstrate our commitment to openness and transparency around data.”

Fines Enforcement Units have a number of measures available to pursue non-payers. These include freezing bank accounts, arresting earnings, clamping vehicles or obtaining arrest warrants.

In all cases, offenders have opportunities to make payment of their fines at a reasonable and affordable instalment rate. All defaulters are issued warnings before action is taken. Those in genuine financial difficulty can engage with enforcement officers to discuss payment terms.

Most fines can be paid round the clock on our secure website at or using our automated telephone payment system by phoning 0300 790 0003. Only fines which involve the endorsement of a driving record cannot be paid electronically at the moment. For those penalties that cannot be paid using the online or telephone payment systems, customers can post payments to Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Central Processing Unit, PO Box 23, Glasgow, G59 9DA.



Fine defaulters are not named for data protection reasons.



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