It is separate from other financial orders that the court may make such as compensation, a fine or prosecution costs. In addition to the Victim Surcharge the court must order the charge set out in the table below:

 

Conviction by a magistrates’ court in proceedings conducted in accordance with section 16A of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 (trial by single justice on the papers); £150
Conviction by a magistrates’ court for a summary offence on a guilty plea £150
Conviction by a magistrates’ court at a trial of a summary offence where (a) the defendant did not enter a plea, (b) the trial proceeded in the absence of the defendant, and (c) the court dealt with the case on the papers without reliance on any oral evidence £150
Conviction by a magistrates’ court for an offence triable either-way on a guilty plea £180
Conviction by a magistrates’ court at a trial of a summary offence £520
Conviction by a magistrates’ court at a trial of an offence triable either way £1000
Conviction by the Crown Court on a guilty plea £900
Conviction by the Crown Court at a trial on indictment £1200
Magistrates’ court when dealing with a person for failure to comply with a community order, suspended sentence order or supervision requirement £100
Crown Court when dealing with a person for failure to comply with a community order, suspended sentence order or supervision requirement £150

 

Bear in mind that these charges apply to ALL offenders, including those whose means have made them eligible for legal aid.  It begs the question, how does the MOJ or HMCTS propose to ensure effective recovery from people who simply cannot afford to pay?  Stop or reduce their benefits?  And what about all those offenders sentenced to lengthy terms of imprisonment?  How are they going to pay?

To my mind this new regime represents an ill-thought out, and ultimately feckless system which is going to cost the taxpayer more to administer than it recovers.  Of course, government spin will make it sound so sensible and just; making criminals, quite literally, pay for their crimes.  But scratch below the surface and you find another con trick; another ill-fated and ultimately unworkable means of generating income from, often, the most vulnerable in society to sure up the deficit.  Income that, in reality, will never be generated.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article, please contact Jamie Srong on 01926 491181.