Lord Beecham – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Ministry of Justice

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Beecham on 2016-05-23.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the fact that the Sentencing Council’s fine calculator does not reflect the new victim surcharge fees for offences committed on or after 8 April, does not permit rounding for fines or victim surcharges, and allows fines to be imposed outside Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines, what steps they plan to take to make changes to the calculation method, and to confirm that the Ambay Software Sentencing Guidelines App complies fully with those guidelines.

Lord Faulks

The Sentencing Council has launched a new fines calculator, which is freely available on its website to assist magistrates when imposing fines. This takes account of the changes to the surcharge introduced on 8 April and enables calculations for multiple fines and rounding where appropriate. The calculator is a tool to assist sentencers and is not intended to replace the role of the court in determining the appropriate sentence in line with any relevant sentencing guidelines. Courts can only depart from sentencing guidelines if it is in the interests of justice to do so.