They are planning and local government specialists, and we have taken the liberty of lifting their guide to the new so-called Victim Surcharge rates.
The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Surcharge) Order 2012 (SI No. 2012/1696) comes into force on 1 October 2012 to change the amount of victim surcharge paid by a Defendant upon conviction.We cannot repeat too often on this blog that those of us who hold judicial office will always do what we promised the Queen that we would do - enforce the law without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. Even if, as in this case, Her Majesty's Parliament (or more likely her civil servants) have created law that is illogical and potentially unfair. Parliament may not always be right, nor even sensible, but it is always sovereign, and that will do for me.
From 1 October 2012 the following provisions will apply:
Offenders aged 18 or over
Offenders aged under 18 years
- conditional discharge - £15
- fine - 10% of the fine value, with a minimum amount of £20 and a maximum amount of £120
- a community sentence - £60
- a suspended sentence of imprisonment or detention in a young offenders' institution of 6 months and below - £80
- a suspended sentence of imprisonment or detention in a young offenders' institution of between 6 months and 12 months - £100
- an immediate sentence of imprisonment or detention in a young offenders' institution (initially imposed only by a Crown Court) of 6 months and below - £80
- an immediate sentence of imprisonment or detention in a young offenders' institution (initially imposed only by a Crown Court) of between 6 months and 2 years - £100
- an immediate sentence of imprisonment or detention in a young offenders' institution of over 2 years - £120
- a sentence of imprisonment or detention in a young offenders' institution for public protection - £120
- a sentence of imprisonment or custody for life - £120
- conditional discharge - £10
- a fine, Youth Rehabilitation Order or Referral Order - £15
- a custodial sentence of any length (initially imposed only by a Crown Court) - £20
In cases of a mixed disposal (where the defendant is dealt with in different ways e.g. a fine for one offence and custody for another) only one surcharge will be paid and the amount will be the higher of the possible options.
- conditional discharge - £15
- fine - 10% of the fine value, with a minimum amount of £20 and a maximum amount of £120
Retournons a nos moutons, then.
It is a wet Thursday at the Old Bailey. In Court no. 1 sits a Very Senior Judge, resplendent in his red gown, a man at the very top of his profession. He is treated with elaborate deference by everyone in the court, as is appropriate for a Privy Councillor. "Robert Smith" he intones. "You have been found guilty, in my opinion quite rightly, by this jury of the crime of murder. Your victim was vulnerable and you have cut short a life that might have gone on for many more decades. I can only pass a sentence of imprisonment for life and I find it right to impose a minimum term of 30 years before you can be considered for parole.
I must also impose a victim surcharge of £120. Will you pay that by cash cheque or credit card, or shall I order it paid at £4 per year?"
What bathos, how pathetic, and how demeaning to one of the most awesome sentences available under our law.
Just one more thing - the maximum surcharge on a company is £120, so if we are dealing with an environmental offence and we fine the (say) polluter close to our maximum of £20,000, the surcharge will be far less, pro-rata than that on a single mother who lives on benefits but hasn't bought a TV licence, because little Kayleigh-Leigh needs new trainers. We shall dutifully impose these new surcharges, but don't expect us to like them.
As I understand it, the Sentencing Council has not yet released the new instructions, because of the anomalies and contradictions inherent in them as they stand.ReplyDelete
You are spot-on as regards the bathos of applying a VS (which won't even go to any actual victims moreover!) to a life sentence for murder. Ludicrous.
Isn't there a "Victims of Crime" lobby group somewhere that should be shaming the government into handing over all this cash to them? A justice minister needs to be asked 14 times by Paxo why he is holding back the money when the "victims" need it.ReplyDelete
Never underestimate a "victim" - they are powerful; they bend the knee only to "survivors".
If someone refuses to pay a fine, and is then imprisoned, can they be imprisoned again for refusing to pay the victim surcharge and so on- is this a life sentence??ReplyDelete
For those of us who are, shall we say, slightly arithmetically challenged, I can see that we will need to retire, not just to decide guilt/innocence/sentence but also to work out the math on the one calculator the court may still possess!!ReplyDelete
I am terrified by the idea (reality) that those who purport to sit in judgment on defendants, and to correctly sentence them... are so "challenged" that they cannot even do simple maths.Delete
Hooray for the "citizen judges".
mathS, SLJP, mathSDelete
We're not Americans
Anon @20:34...grow up and get a sense of humour...Delete
Anon @ 20.34 what difference does being good, bad or mediocre at maths have to do with judging somebody?Delete
Being bad at simple maths implies being not-so-bright. I severely doubt that society benefits from having not-so-bright people do judging. Perhaps you people have a different view. Google up "Dunning-Kruger" for something that will really make you fill your nappies.Delete
I know several people who by their own admission are terrible at maths, to the point where they will often ask me how to work out the value of something before VAT was added, but who none-the-less are very intelligent people.Delete
There are many types of intelligence.
I know lots of very intelligent people, not one of whom is bad at maths. I do know some people who are bad at maths and think they are very intelligent.Delete
I used to know at least one guy who was bad at maths and also thought he was very clever.Delete
That's interesting that you have never come across someone who is intelligent (and very modest about it) but has a bit of a blind spot when it comes to numbers. I know quite a few.
I wonder if those computer systems that can handle VS were written with the amount fixed at £15? If they were they will not be able to handle these new amounts. It was certainly the case in my area that for a long time nothing was recorded as VS because the computer couldn't deal with it, even at a fixed rate of £15. I don't know for sure that it can, even now.ReplyDelete
Yes, its all what one might call bollocks!ReplyDelete
I don't think the primary legislation actually has the word 'victim' in it.
This is another ill thought through hair brained piece of shit that the judiciary are going to have to wade through.
The legislation does not say "victim." The tag "victim" came about because the government's blurb was all about applying the proceeds for the benefit of "victims."Delete
Firstly, will the computer system finally be able to distinguish between victim surcharge and other financial penalties imposed at the same time>ReplyDelete
Secondly, wouldn't "Robert Smith' simply lodge the £120 during the reception process into custody?
The VS is said to be used to help fund Victim Support but as you know, the Courts Service has been unable to identify the amount of VS collected for some years. I do not use the word 'Victim', I just announce a surcharge. Because much of this is not collected (who will get the blame for the ever increasing amount of uncollected monies owed to HMCTS) it further brings the CJ system into disrepute.ReplyDelete
It is indeed hare-brained, and it's correct that the word victim never appeared in the legislation. That the money doesn't have to be delivered to the victim is perhaps fortunate in the case of the poor individual murdered in BS's beautiful example of the idiocy of the new rules.ReplyDelete
If compensation ordered then the surcharge may be reduced (if needs be to NIL) where the offender does not have the means to pay both.
Note also that there is a slight complication between dealing with more than one offence at the same time with a single disposal and dealing with more than one offence with different disposals. In the latter case, the surcharge is the higher of those applicable - you do not just add up several surcharges!
You can read all about this surcharge business atReplyDelete
Total, total madness. Another example of a lot of highly-educated idiots sitting in a room and thinking "hmmm. How do we keep ourselves occupied (read 'employed') for another year?ReplyDelete
Does anyone have any figures as to how much tax (sorry, 'VS') has been collected and how much has actually been given to the lady who was punched in the face outside the nightclub?
I've been in the, frankly embarrassing for magistrates, court staff, lawyers and indeed HMCTS situation where we fined a company nearly £20K + costs (£2k or so if memory serves) and the Clerk had to remind Her Worship in the chair that we HAD to impose the VS. Ridiculous, unworkable, unfair. And the idea that we HAVE to impose such a tax is an affront to our impartiality.
Total nonsense and one OUR M.A. should oppose it with all their (non-existent) might...
The MA as been campaigning very hard for several years now for a proper victim compensation scheme, which would allow courts to award victims a lump sum rather than have to suffer the weekly "drip drip" reminder of a few pence, which often dry up completely as the system loses track of them for whatever reason. It would be good to have some support for this idea. Contrary to Tim's conception of the MA, it does not make policy, but can only propose, and point out the flaws in any ideas put to it.Delete
Apologies for the missing h on 'has'; my accent is slipping!Delete
Like poor Bystander, who not only struggles with apostrophes but also with French accents (it's "à" nos moutons).Delete
There are serious problems with the suggestion that the government (taxpayer) should pay the victim up front and hope to recover the money from compensation payments. We all know that lots of the money would not be recovered (and there are interest costs if it is recovered later). Thus the taxpayer would end up footing the bill. If this is considered OK, surely logically the taxpayer should also compensate all victims of crime - not just the minority of cases that end up in court. Furthermore, logically the amount would always be the full amount lost (or deemed appropriate), irrespective of the means of the offerder or the sentence imposeed. Trouble is, this would all be very expensive for the taxpayer.Delete
Compensation (as at present) is the payment of money by the perpetrator to the victim. It doesn't cost the taxpayer anything (ignoring administration). It's inevitable, then, that the victim receives only what the perpetrator pays.
Look here, M. Marchand d'oignons; (brandishes 1965-vintage 'A'-level French certificate)Delete
I can do an À or a à or even a â if needed, here on my nice PC, but I haven't a scooby how to do it on my iPad. So don't get sarky with me - comprends?
And another thing, while I'm in a narky mood: I'm pretty comfy with punctuation, being the holder of a degree in English from a respectable University, but I am not immune to the odd typo, especially when posting late at night with a glass of Grouse to hand.
Hold down the key that you want and almost immediately you will be presented with a selection of accented versions to choose from. Simply slide your digit onto the one you want - Simples.Delete
yes- I think for once there is unanimity, it definetly is bullshit, which demeans justice.ReplyDelete
At present it's only custodial sentences but it will come, sure as eggs is eggs and then...ReplyDelete
At the more realistic end of the scale, a street drinker of NFA who has been arrested for swearing at the pigeons or somesuch and held overnight before we give him one days detention, deemed served (no need to sit at the back, just get rid of him), no costs because all the money he has goes on white lightning and the odd bag of chips. Chances of getting £80 off him ?
Sorry, above should read "At present it's only custodial sentences handed out by crown court"ReplyDelete
See Gringo...that typing lark can easily get away from you!! :-)Delete
No Gringo, as far as I know, you can do VS of £80 or one day deemed served as well as the fine or one day. At least that's what we do!ReplyDelete
I'm feeling subversive. If there's compensation + VS the compensation gets priority and then (and only then) we can drop the VS to fit the offender's ability to pay. And we can drop it to NIL if necessary. So we up the compensation to just beyond the offender's ability to pay! Genius!ReplyDelete
Yes, I know it wouldn't actually work and YES I know I wouldn't do anything that contradicts what I have sworn to do. And NO I'm not serious, but I've just read the act and the line, "The Act does not give the court any discretion" made me question why the hell I do this...
Only three working days to go before the new Victim Surcharge regime comes into effect, and the silence from MoJ, HMCTS and our own court staff is deafening. Will it happen on 1st October, or will it all be quietly forgotten?ReplyDelete
Has to happen unless the ORDER is cancelled /repealed.Delete
My JC sent out an email yesterday. The London JCs had to put their heads together to interpret how to implement the charges since the rules were badly drafted.ReplyDelete
Will cost more to implement than will be collected ..... WEIRD, ANDY!ReplyDelete
I have an issue with both the victim surcharge and compensation to the alleged victim, in that it is determined by the fact that your judgment is deemed to be right to begin with. Which, to be quite frank, is very rarely the case. Pun intended.ReplyDelete
In my experience, you rely on the police and the prosecution to present a factual and unbiased case for you to then sit and judge. But lets be honest here, in quite a few cases they spin you complete and utter bull, which you take as fact. Quite often it's nothing more than the imaginations of a young prosecutor doing all they can to climb the ranks or make a name for themselves.
Does anyone truly believe that 95% of all defendants that go before the courts are factually guilty?
To be quite frank, most magistrates simply do not have the intelligence to understand even the most simple of cases. Rather than being fixed on truth and justice, you instead chose to take things out of context in order to justify a guilty verdict.
Cases are often prejudiced from the beginning by the mere fact that a defendant is standing before you. Who can honestly say, hand on heart, that your verdict isn't decided before the prosecution even finish their opening statement?
Amazingly, you even miss the most obvious of evidence to the contrary. Why? Becuase you're simply not looking for it.
The justice system, in my opinion, is the most bias, prejudice and inept excuse for a judicial system that I have ever come across. First and foremost, we need a complete overhaul of the justice system in order to appease public confidence. Starting with the police and prosecutions interpretation and presentation of the so called evidence. It simply cannot be relied upon to be a truthful representation of the facts and yet you convict pretty much on their say so, much of the time.
Amazingly, I live in a so called democratic society that prides itself on free speech, and yet, more often than not, contempt laws are used to suppress critique of the courts. This the most valued and defended of human rights. Really?
It would be nice if the courts actually listened to the evidence, that which can be substantiated without doubt, get rid of all the dramatic claptrap by the prosecution, and start delivering justice, rather than to twist the facts in order to convict and be seen to be delivering justice in the eyes of the media.
A justice system that fails the innocent in the name of the victim, is a poor excuse for justice. Just remember when you next sit on the bench, not all allegations are true and not all wrongful allegations can be proved by the defendant. Especially if they are represented on the basis of legal aid. The chances are that there solicitor will either have not bothered to make an attempt at a worthwhile defense, or simply are incapable.