There have been revisions to the fines which may be imposed in the magistrate's court which will affect health and safety prosecutions. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Commencement No.11) Order 2015 (SI 2015/504) brought section 85(1), (2) and (4) of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) into force on 12 March 2015. Section 85 provides for fines in magistrates' courts currently capped at £5,000 or more (where legislation permits) to become unlimited, meaning that magistrates will be able to impose higher fines than previously. This could affect:

  • Health and safety prosecutions brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, which were capped at £20,000
  • Environmental offences that, depending on the type and nature of the offence, were capped between £5,000 and £50,000

The new sentencing power does not apply to fines for offences committed before 12 March 2015.