Fines imposed following criminal conviction
Fines imposed following criminal conviction

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Fines imposed following criminal conviction
  • Maximum fines
  • The court’s approach to imposing financial penalties
  • Sentence not to be increased for poor or rich defendants
  • The victim surcharge
  • Criminal courts charge—13 April 2015 until 24 December 2015
  • Magistrates’ courts sentencing guidelines
  • Corporate defendants
  • Crown Court fines
  • Paying magistrates’ courts fines

A fine is a penalty imposed either instead of or in addition to any other sentence. A fine can be imposed in the Crown Court or the magistrates’ court and should always be proportionate to the gravity of the offence.

A fine will never be appropriate when the seriousness of the offence requires an immediate custodial sentence (see: A-G's Reference (No 41 of 1994) (1995) 16 Cr App Rep (S) 792 (not reported by LexisNexis®)).

Maximum fines

Magistrates’ court—offences committed on or after 12 March 2015

Certain criminal offences dealt with by the magistrates’ court, have a maximum fine prescribed by statute or subordinate legislation.

Section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO 2012), removed the upper limit to the level of fine which the magistrates can impose for most serious offences. For offences committed in England and Wales on or after 12 March 2015, which were previously punishable by a level 5 fine (whether described as £5,000, level 5, statutory maximum or prescribed sum), there is no longer an upper limit to the fine which the magistrates can impose on summary conviction.

The removal of the maximum limit does not apply to fines imposed on a person convicted by a magistrates' court who is to be sentenced as if convicted on indictment nor does it relate to offenders under the age of 18