Fines collection rates rise as offenders forced to pay up

Aug 22, 2019

Fines collection rates in Scotland’s Sheriff Courts and Justice of the Peace Courts have risen above 90%, reflecting very high collection rates across the board.

The 41st Quarterly Fines Report is published today by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and reveals that 91% of the value of Sheriff Court fines imposed during the three-year period between 2015/16 and 2017/18 has either been paid or is on track to be paid as at 22 July 2019 – a rise of one percentage point over the last quarter. The value of JP Court fines shows a similar one percentage point rise to 91% over the same period.

In addition, collection rates for Fiscal Penalties and Police Fixed penalties have both also risen by two percentage points over the same period, meaning 78% of the value of Fiscal Penalties imposed during the three-year period has either been paid or is on track to be paid and 80% of Police Fixed Penalties.

These high rates reflect continuing success by Fines Enforcement Units in rigorously pursuing non-payers through measures such as seizing bank accounts, clamping cars or arrest warrants.

In the Sheriffdom of Glasgow and Strathkelvin more than £17,000 was paid up by offenders who had their bank accounts frozen over the past quarter. Almost £5,000 was also recovered from drivers who found their cars clamped. A Porsche driver from Cambuslang who had failed to settle his outstanding £150 fine imposed at Glasgow JP Court for having no insurance for the car quickly stumped up when he discovered it clamped outside his home.

In Lothian and Borders, a West Lothian man who had not paid his £600 fine imposed at Livingston Sheriff Court for breaching a court order got a nasty shock when he was arrested at Prestwick Airport coming back from his holiday in Majorca. The man settled his outstanding balance immediately and was released.

Arresting non-payers travelling through ports and airports, clamping vehicles, arresting earnings, freezing bank accounts are among enforcement measures available to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) for recovering unpaid fines. Non-payers can also have money taken directly from benefits and more than 6,300 benefit deduction orders were issued in the last quarter alone.

SCTS Chief Operations Officer David Fraser said: “The latest Quarterly Fines Report reflects a 10-year success story of steady improvement in fines collection and illustrates how fines enforcement teams continue to be highly effective in securing unpaid fines. It is very unwise not to pay a fine or not to engage with an enforcement officer if someone is having difficulty paying. It can lead to being arrested at an airport or having a vehicle clamped as the recent detention at Prestwick Airport shows.  With our national dedicated team of fines enforcement officers, non-payment of a fine or non-engagement is simply not an option.”

In all cases, offenders have opportunities to make payment of their fines at a reasonable and affordable instalment rate. All defaulters are issued warnings before action is taken. Those in genuine financial difficulty can engage with enforcement officers to discuss payment terms.

Most fines can be paid round the clock on our secure website at or using our automated telephone payment system by phoning 0300 790 0003. Only fines which involve the endorsement of a driving record cannot be paid electronically at the moment. For those penalties that cannot be paid using the online or telephone payment systems, customers can post payments to Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, Central Processing Unit, PO Box 23, Glasgow, G59 9DA or take it in person to any Scottish court fines office.



•          Fine defaulters are not named for data protection reasons.

•         A copy of the most recent SCTS Quarterly Fines Report is available at:  

•         Many fines are paid by instalments over the course of two or more years which will affect collection rate figures.

•         Warrants can be granted by the Judiciary following a referral by a Fines Enforcement Officer.

Right-hand Menu