The Minister for Justice and Law Reform has made an Order commencing certain provisions of the Fines Act 2010 with effect from 4 January 2011. The provisions commenced from that date relate to increase in the levels of fines and the introduction of a classification system for levels of fines in the District Court.
The Act provides for the indexation of fines so that fines following conviction for offences will have the value they had when they were first introduced or were last updated. The main provisions of the Act are:
- an indexation of all existing District Court maximum fines so that their monetary values are brought up to date;
- an crease in the level of certain fines imposed by a 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 will 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 EUR 500 to a class A fine not exceeding EUR 5000.
The Act enables the updating of fines which can be imposed by summary conviction in line with the increases in the Consumer Price Index. Fines will be ranked within eight specific time periods and five classes of maximum fines. This methodology will enable the calculation and the increase of fines for summary conviction on an ongoing basis.