Fines collection rates show recovery from COVID impact

Nov 18, 2021

The latest Quarterly Fines Report 50 is published today by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service and shows continuing progress in recovery of fines collection rates from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The three-year collection rates for all fine/penalty types show improvement for both value and number when the figures as at 19 July 2021 are compared with 18 October 2021 with the exception of Justice of the Peace Court fines rates which have been maintained at last quarter’s level. The three-year rate for Sheriff Court fines by value paid or on track to be paid in the latest quarter, has risen to 88%, up by one percentage point.

Figures on collection of the Victim Surcharge also show continuing progress with more than a quarter of a million pounds now collected in the first two years of the surcharge. The £254,470 paid to date amounts to 79% of the value of these penalties having been paid, a rise of 1 percentage point compared to 19 July 2021. 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.

The overall collection performance reflects continuing and targeted action by Fines Enforcement Officers. However, 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 also enable 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.  

Commenting on QFR 50, SCTS Executive Director of Court Operations David Fraser said: “These figures continue to show reassuring progress in recovery from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic with continuing rises recorded in the new report.

“We recognise the impact that Coronavirus can have on fines payers however, and we are continuing to maintain 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.

“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, deducting from benefits, 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 with 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.
  • 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.

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