HC Deb 08 July 2003 vol 408 c732W
Mrs. Gillan

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what percentage of fines were unpaid in(a) magistrates courts and (b) Crown courts in (i) Chesham and Amersham and (ii) Buckinghamshire in 2002–03; and if he will make a statement. [123908]

Mr. Leslie

Magistrates? Courts Committees (MCCs) have a responsibility for the collection of a range of debts imposed by both the magistrates courts and the Crown court. Debt collected includes not only fines but also fees, compensation, confiscation orders, legal aid contributions and some maintenance orders. It is not yet possible to separate out only fines from the total so the figures provided here include all the elements above.

Data are collected centrally at MCC level, rather than at court level. The payment rate for the Thames Valley MCC in 2002–03, that is the percentage of the total amount collected over the amount imposed, was 69 per cent. On that basis, the percentage of fines unpaid was 31 per cent.

In addition, the Thames Valley MCC accounting system is unable to identify the percentage of fines unpaid in the Chesham and Amersham satellite magistrates court. Information from the Thames Valley MCC indicated that the payment rate in 2002–03 for the Central Buckinghamshire Petty Session Area, which includes Amersham, was 65 per cent.