Call us today on 0141 552 9193
GLP News

News, Comment & Opinions on the latest legal stories

Glasgow Law Practice White

Practice made perfect

Fixed penalty notices to speed up justice in Northern Ireland

Police officers in Northern Ireland will have the power to issue fines to first time offenders covering a range of designated offences.

It is expected that new powers will result in 1,500 fewer people going to court each year and forms part of the Minister’s agenda to speed up the justice system.

Under the new powers which come into force on 6th June, a first time offender could receive a £40 fixed penalty notice for being drunk in a public place or an £80 for disorderly behaviour.

In accepting a penalty notice, offenders have an opportunity to avoid a criminal record for an isolated or out-of-character offence which could affect their long term employment prospects, though a record of issue will be kept and will be available to police, prosecution and courts for consideration in the event of any further offence.

The issue of penalty notices is subject to strict guidelines provided by the Department of Justice. The guidance to police officers precludes issue where there has been an injury to any person or any realistic threat or risk of injury to any person, or for any offence related to domestic violence, motivated by hatred (based on religion, race, sexual orientation, age or disability), or which is overtly sexual in nature.