The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (Fines on Summary Conviction) Regulations 2015 (the Regulations) are now in force. The Regulations remove the previous maximum limit on fines that can be imposed by magistrates on summary conviction of a number of offences. Where a fine was previously limited to an amount of £5,000 (or more) the fine will, for offences committed on or after 12 March, now be unlimited. For example, where an offence under the Companies Act 2006 was subject to a maximum Level 5 fine, which equated to £5,000, that fine will now be unlimited. Fines that were stated to be capped at a level below £5,000 remain unaffected.
Impact – magistrates now have the ability to impose, in a number of cases, unlimited fines on a company for breach of certain provisions in the Companies Act 2006 (and other legislation) which were previously capped at £5,000. Companies are advised to ensure that their compliance with all of their statutory obligations is not overlooked.