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Court fines

Information about fines that have been imposed by an order of the court after a person is found guilty or convicted of an offence.

What is a court fine?

A court fine is a fine that has been imposed by an order of the court after a person is found guilty or convicted of an offence. It includes court costs but does not include money paid as compensation, restitution or costs incurred by third parties.

See s. 3—Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and s. 3—Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Court fines managed by director

Unless the court orders otherwise, fines that have been imposed by a court will be referred to the Director of Fines Victoria ('the director') for collection and management if the fine is not paid in full on the day of the court hearing.

After the court refers the fine to the director, the director will serve a 'court fine collection statement' on the offender making it clear how much money is owed and when and how the fine must be paid. It will also set out what will happen if the fine is not paid by the due date.

Delays in sending Court Fine Collection Statements

Fines Victoria has had technical difficulties, which has meant that these court fine collections statements have not been issued to people who have been fined. The problem was fixed in December 2019 and these statements are now slowly being posted to people fined by the court.

See Fines Victoria.

Making payments

When the person with a court fine gets the court fine collection statement they must comply with the court order. This means that the person fined will have to pay the director on the date the fine is due.

It may be possible for a person to consolidate their court fine payments with other infringement fines. They should apply to the director if they would like to do this. .

If the court made an instalment order the director will collect the fine according to the terms that were specified by the court in the order.

This also applies to fines ordered by the court before 31 December 2017. Responsibility for all outstanding fines was transferred to Fines Victoria. Fines Victoria sent fine collection statements to people who had outstanding court fines in January 2018.

See:

Old court fines directed to the sheriff

Any court fines that were issued before 2018 that were directed to the Sheriff under a warrant to arrest (or a warrant to seize property in the case of a body corporate) have not been referred to Fines Victoria for management. Anyone in this situation can pay their outstanding fine in full to Fines Victoria, or they can pay the sheriff directly.

The person can exercise options directly with the sentencing court. For example, they could apply::

  • to convert the court fine to community work
  • for an order that the fine be paid by instalments
  • for an order giving them extra time to pay.

See 'Court fines' fact sheet under Fines Victoria.

Enforcement

The court fine will be registered with the director for enforcement if the person:

  • does not pay the fine on time
  • fails to comply with the terms of the instalment order (or time to pay order), or
  • fails to comply with a payment arrangement (if the court fine is included in that arrangement).

An additional fee is added to the fine at this stage.

Note: No enforcement action will be started until a person actually receives their Court Fine Collection Statement.

See s. 15—Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Enforcement hearing orders

What is an enforcement hearing order?

An enforcement hearing order is an order made by the Magistrates' Court for the collection (or collection and enforcement) of an infringement or court fine that has been made after a person has defaulted on their fine and has been arrested and brought before the court under a warrant. This happens at the very end of the fine enforcement stage.

If the court makes an order at this enforcement hearing that includes an instalment order or a 'time to pay' order to deal with part or all of the outstanding fine, the court may refer these orders to the director for collection, or collection and enforcement.

After these fines are referred, the director will send the person an 'Enforcement hearing statement' that sets out where, when and how the fine is to be paid, and the consequences for not paying when the fine is due.

If the person does not pay the fine under a collection order when it is due the director must draft an 'Enforcement and payment report' and refer the matter back to the court that made the order.

If the person does not pay a collection and enforcement order when it is due, the director is responsible for enforcing this order.

See ss. 3, Part 3 Division 2A, 165, 165A—Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and s. 69G(2)(c), (2)(d), (3), 69H(2)(e)—Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

More information

Legislation

Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines 'court fine', 'collection orders', 'collection and enforcement orders' and 'enforcement hearing orders'
  • s. 12—defers to court power to deal with fine as it chooses
  • s. 13—referral for collection of court fine
  • s. 14—court fine collection statement
  • s. 15—registration of court fine for enforcement
  • Part 3, Division 2A—referral of enforcement hearing orders
  • s. 165(1)(b), (3)(b), 3(c)—powers of the Magistrates' Court
  • s. 165A(1)(a), (1)(b)—additional powers of the Magistrates' Court

See Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines a 'fine'
  • s. 56—court power to make an instalment order
  • s. 59—court power to make a 'time to pay order'
  • s. 69G—order of court if material change to person's circumstances (order of fine to be paid in instalments)
  • s. 69H—other orders of the court

See Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

References

Magistrates' Court

The court website has information about how to pay court fines. It explains what a person has to do if they have outstanding court fines.

See Magistrates' Court—Changes to Magistrates’ Court fine payment arrangements(opens in a new window).

Fines Victoria

This website has information about how to pay outstanding court fines to the director of Fines Victoria.

See Fines—Pay your fine.

Fines Victoria has information sheets about court fines for people who have received a Court Fine Collection Statement and also for agencies:

Fines Victoria—Have you received a court fine collection statement from Fines Victoria (pdf, 111 KB)(opens in a new window)

This fact sheet is designed for clients who get a court fine collection statement.

Fines Victoria—Court fines (pdf, 49 KB)(opens in a new window)

This fact sheet is designed to inform legal and support agencies who have clients with court fines.

Updated