Fines collection rates remain stable

Feb 18, 2021

The latest Quarterly Fines Report 47 is published today by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and shows that fines collection rates are holding consistently steady during the Coronavirus crisis with three year rates showing percentage rises.

The three year collection rates for all fine/penalty types show improvement for both value and number when the figures as at 19 October 2020 are compared with those as at 19 January 2021.

The three-year rate for sheriff court fines, by value paid or on track to be paid, is up two percentage points at 88%. The collection rate for Justice of the Peace Court fines is also up two percentage points at 87%. 

SCTS has recognised that individuals face the very real risk of suffering significant financial hardship during the Coronavirus crisis and has focussed on fines collection measures that enable Fines Enforcement Officers to provide information, advice and support to customers who are struggling to maintain their payments. An online form has been introduced to simplify the process for customers to seek information and advice.

Liability to pay fines remains, however, and failure to engage with fines officers will result in enforcement action being taken. Customers can pay easily using our 24/7 online and telephone payment channels. More than £5m has been paid through these channels in the past 12 months.

The latest QFR contains a new bespoke section on Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) issued by police in relation to Coronavirus regulations. More than 40% of the value of these penalties has already been paid. The new section has been provided in the light of high levels of interest in these FPNs and this information will continue to be updated in upcoming reports.

Figures on collection of the Victim Surcharge also show continuing progress with more than £87,000 now collected. This amounts to 74% of the value of these penalties having been paid – a rise of one percentage point from last quarter’s figure. The Victim Surcharge penalty was introduced by the Scottish Government at the end of 2019 on fines relating to offences committed on or after 25 November 2019.

Commenting on QFR 46, Chief Operations Officer David Fraser said: “These figures continue to show reassuring progress during the continuing COVID-19 crisis.

"We recognise the impact that Coronavirus can have on fines payers and we are maintaining additional support, with information and advice, to take account of that. The strong rates over time, evident in this report, show that our processes and systems are maintaining efficient collection during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We will employ robust sanctions against offenders who we are satisfied have failed to pay without reasonable excuse. The message to fines customers remains clear – continue to pay your fines or seek advice if you are struggling. 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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