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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91701 Find in a Library
Title: Fine Enforcement - An Evaluation of the Practices of Individual Courts
Author(s): P Softley; D Moxon
Corporate Author: Great Britain Home Office
Research and Planning Unit
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 28
Sponsoring Agency: Great Britain Home Office
London, SW1H 9AT, England
Great Britain Home Office
London. SW1H 9AT, England
Sale Source: Great Britain Home Office
Research and Planning Unit
Information Section
50 Queen Anne's Gate, Room 278
London, SW1H 9AT,
United Kingdom
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This study of the enforcement practices of individual courts in England was based on samples of 200 offenders fined during the period July-September 1979.
Abstract: At each of 34 courts, a representative sample of 125 offenders fined was supplemented by a further sample of 75 offenders fined for property or revenue offenses. Payments made by these offenders and action taken to enforce payment were ascertained for a period of 12 months from sentence. Justices' clerks and fine enforcement officers were interviewed. It was found that the accounting ratio (ratio of the ammount remitted to the Secretary of State to the sums imposed together with arrears) was related significantly to two independently derived measures of performance -- namely, the proportion of offenders who paid and the proportion of the sum imposed that was recovered. It was therefore concluded that the accounting ratio would provide a convenient and helpful means of monitoring performance. In fixing the amounts of fines, courts need to strike a balance between the gravity of the offense and a realistic assessment of what the offender can sensibly afford to pay. No relationship was found between variations in the staffing levels of the courts or the adoption of computerized accounting systems and performance. The key to effective enforcement appears to be speed of action both following default and in followup when initial measures have failed. The ability to identify defaults quickly and take prompt action initially and upon followup, if necessary, are the keys to successful enforcement. Tabular data and a reference list of 85 sources are given.
Index Term(s): Court management; England; Fines
Note: Research and Planning Unit Paper, number 12
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