Once an order is made by a court fining your client it is then referred to Fines Victoria for collection and management under s 13(1) of the Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic) (FRA). The collection and management of the court fine by Fines Victoria is pursuant to s 13(4) of the FRA as if Fines Victoria had made a payment arrangement for the court fine. Fines Victoria’s collection and management of the court fine must pursuant to s 13(3) of the FRA must be in accordance with any terms specified by the court in its order.
Your client may also make an application to Fines Victoria under s 42(1) for a payment arrangement however Fines Victoria will also be required to s 45(2) to only offer a payment arrangements that accord with any terms specified in the court order.
Therefore if your client is struggling to make payment of a court fine or keep up with existing instalments ordered in an instalment order, the application to vary, seek time to pay or convert the fine to community work will need to be made directly with the Magistrates Court and not Fines Victoria.
Your client can make this application at any point before they are arrested for failing to pay open court fines. On application, the Court may make any of the following orders:
An order that more time be allowed for the payment of the fine (s 59(1) of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic) (SA)); or
An order that the fine be paid by instalments (s 57(1) of the SA); or
An order for the variation of the terms of an existing instalment order (s 61(1)(a) of the SA); or
An order that the fine be converted to an order to do unpaid community work (up to the equivalent value of 100 penalty units) (s 64(1) of the SA).
If your client wishes to make an application, you should prepare a written application that clearly sets out your client’s circumstances and the reasons your client is applying for the particular order and file this at the Magistrates’ Court registry.
Generally, if your client wants to set up an instalment plan with the Magistrates’ Court, your client will be asked by the registry to pay a certain amount before being eligible. If your client cannot afford this amount, you can use the below template letter to request a waiver of this requirement.
On an application, the registrar can either make one or more of the above four orders or confirm any order already in force.