The Enforcement of Fines and Other Penalties Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2018

20 May 2018

The Enforcement of Fines and Other Penalties Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2018 comes into operation on 1 June 2018. This mirrors changes brought in for England and Wales 2005/6 to allow for the recovery of fines through earnings following on from The Courts Act 2003.

The Justice (2016 Act) (Commencement No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2018 brings into operation a new provision in relation to the collection of fines and other penalties. New collection and enforcement powers include deductions from benefits, attachment of earnings (AEO), bank account orders and vehicle seizure orders.

Although the Order states AEO’s, the Regulations seem to be borrowing from the Direct Earnings Attachment (DEA) rules rather than the AEO rules for the recovery of fines. Also, the DEA specifies tables for Daily, Weekly and Monthly rates, however the new AEO for Northern Ireland only specifies Weekly and Monthly.

We want to highlight the anomaly as when speaking to our software developer colleagues the new Order seems to mirror standard DEA logic for weekly and monthly. If a Great Britain DEA were applied then that would also mirror the calculation required for the AEO for Northern Ireland but only if DEA were applied to the payslip. It depends how your software is coded, some may restrict the name for an employee’s payslip and some may be able to apply DEA to the payslip or a variation of DEA with other indications.

With an effective date of 1 June, there has been little notice provided, however, the use of DEA capabilities could cover the requirement.