The Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform has published the Fines Bill 2009. The main provisions of the Bill are:
- An indexation of all existing District Court maximum fines so that their monetary values are brought up to date
- The increase of certain fines imposed by the Higher Courts
- Power for the courts to inquire into the capacity of persons to pay fines in order to implement the policy of equality of impact
- Provision for the payment of fines by instalments
- Provision of alternatives to imprisonment for default on payment of fines.
The maximum fines that can be imposed by the District Court would in future be placed in one of five classes ranked A to E. The maximum fines in each class range from a Class E fine not exceeding EUR500 to a Class A fine not exceeding EUR5,000 are to be provided for in the Bill.
The Bill will enable the updating of fines which can be imposed by summary conviction in line with increases in the Consumer Price Index. Fines will be ranked within 8 specific time periods and 5 classes of maximum fines . This methodology will enable the calculation of and increase of fines for summary conviction on an ongoing basis.