Help for fines payers during Covid-19 crisis

May 21, 2020

The latest Quarterly Fines Report is published today by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and shows that the three year collection rates for fines and penalties remain steady.

The value of Sheriff Court fines imposed during the three-year period between 2016/17 and 2019/20, and now either paid or on track to be paid as at 20 April 2020, is 91%.

Fines collection continues within the restrictions that have arisen from the Coronavirus crisis. However, the effects of the virus crisis mean that individuals face the very real risk of suffering significant financial hardship at this time and in recognition of this, SCTS has focused on introducing measures that will allow Fines Enforcement Officers (FEOs) to provide information and advice to customers who are struggling to maintain their payments. 

We have introduced an online form to simplify the process for customers to seek new payment terms and we are developing a dedicated helpline for fines payers. Customers can still pay their fines by post or by using our 24/7 online and telephone payment channels.

Further analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on fines collection will be undertaken in Quarterly Fines Report 45 which is due to be published in August.

The 44th report released today is the first to include information about the collection of the new Victim Surcharge penalty. The penalty was introduced by the Scottish Government at the end of 2019 on fines relating to offences committed on or after 25 November and the 2019-20 Q3 collection rate is 66% of the imposed penalty value as at 20 April 2020.

Commenting on QFR 44, Chief Operations Officer David Fraser said: “I am pleased to introduce information on the Victim Surcharge in this new report. The data will be of great interest to stakeholders and the public and is a further step in openness and transparency around data.

“We recognise the impact that Coronavirus can have on fines payers which is why we are making it easier for customers to seek information advice and support. However, this does not mean that fine payment can be avoided and FEOs will still employ robust sanctions against those who continue to default on their fines unless they are able to evidence/demonstrate reasonable cause.

 “The message to fines customers remains clear – continue to pay your fines or contact our fines enforcement team if you are struggling to pay your fine. Doing nothing is not an option.”

Fines Enforcement Units have a number of measures available to pursue non-payers. These include freezing bank accounts, arresting earnings, clamping vehicles or obtaining arrest warrants.

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.




•          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.

•         Information on how to pay fines can be found on our website at:

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