Fines enforcement used across the country to keep collection rates on course

Feb 22, 2024

Tools available to the Scottish Courts and Tribunals service continue to be used to enforce the repayment of fines issued across the country.

In recent weeks, a Renfrewshire fraudster repaid £5,850 owed to the court after defaulting on repayments.

The person paid an initial £4,000 of a £9,850 fine before further payment terms failed to be met. An Earnings Arrestment Order, where an employer is instructed to deduct money directly from a person’s wages, was issued to recover the remaining amount.

In Grampians, Highlands & Islands Sheriffdom, a man who failed to repay a fine handed down by Tain Sheriff Court was issued with a Bank Arrestment Order. The seizure of money held in his account was used to pay off an outstanding £227 after he had failed to fully repay a fine for threatening or abusive behaviour and possession of cocaine.

Bank Arrestment Orders, Earning Arrestment Orders and citations to the Fines Enquiry Court are some of the tools open to the SCTS enforcement team.

Figures published today by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service (SCTS) show continued improvement in collection rates across all fine and penalty types in Quarter 2 2023/24, in both value and number.

The fines collection rates now cover a three-year period over the financial years 2020/21, 2021/22, 2022/23. Within the Sheriff Court, fines collection by value paid or on track to be paid remains consistently strong at 89%.

The overall collection performance reflects continuing and targeted action by SCTS Fines Enforcement Officers.

This has also contributed to more than £1.33 million being paid in to a fund supporting the victims of crime.

The Victim Surcharge Fund, which is administered by the Scottish Government, is contributed to from a percentage of each court fine.

More than £175,000 was collected in the last quarter for the fund that opened in November 2019.

SCTS Executive Director of Court Operations David Fraser said: “A court imposed fine has been handed down as a punishment and isn’t something that can be ignored. We have a statutory duty to secure outstanding fines and enforcement action can be taken by Fines Enforcement Officers at any point once a fine falls into arrears, and at least seven days have passed since a warning letter has been issued.”

However, Mr Fraser highlighted that while SCTS is committed to ensuring fines are paid, the service also recognises that individuals face the very real risk of suffering significant financial hardship at this time.

"We recognise that the cost-of-living crisis may impact on people’s ability to pay fines. However, ignoring fines and doing nothing can lead to further action being taken which may include additional costs.

“I would urge anyone who is struggling to pay to get in touch with us so we can provide support and advice.

“Where we are satisfied that offenders have failed to pay without a reasonable excuse, Fines Enforcement Teams will employ robust sanctions, including bank account arrestment orders, vehicle clamping, earning arrestments, deductions from benefits and warrants being issued for arrest.

“So please make sure you contact us to make suitable arrangements to pay and avoid any of this action being taken."

Fines Enforcement Teams continue to provide information, advice and support to those who are struggling to maintain their payments.

Anyone looking for advice or information on paying their fine can access it easily via our national telephone helpline on 0300 790 0014 or online form.

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.

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