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The standard scale is a system whereby financial criminal penalties (fines) in legislation have maximum levels set against a standard scale. Then, when inflation makes it necessary to increase the levels of the fines the legislators need to modify only the scale rather than every individual piece of legislation.

In English law, the reference in legislation will typically appear as:

... liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.

Legislation and level of finesEdit

AustraliaEdit

Channel IslandsEdit

GuernseyEdit

 

Guernsey uses the UK standard scale for adopted UK legislation, and its own scale (called the uniform scale) for legislation originating in the States of Guernsey.

Guernsey's dependencies of Alderney and Sark have their own distinct scales, although these are generally in line with the Guernsey scale.

AlderneyEdit

 

  • The Uniform Scale of Fines (Alderney) Law 1989 as amended by The Uniform Scale of Fines (Alderney) (Amendment) Ordinance 2007.
Alderney uniform scale of fines
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 £500
2 £1,000
3 £2,000
4 £5,000
5 £10,000

SarkEdit

  Sark has its own standard scale, which is normally maintained at the same levels as Guernsey's.

  • The Uniform Scale of Fines (Sark) Law, 1989 as amended by the Uniform Scale of Fines (Sark) (Amendment) Ordinance, 1992, the Uniform Scale of Fines (Sark) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2004, and the Uniform Scale of Fines (Sark) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2006.
Sark uniform scale of fines
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 £500
2 £1,000
3 £2,000
4 £5,000
5 £10,000

Isle of ManEdit

  Since 1 January 2018, for Acts of Tynwald the Isle of Man uses a standard scale introduced by Section 55 of the Interpretation Act 2015. It replaced specified amounts specified within each piece of legislation.

Manx standard scale
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 £500
2 £1,000
3 £2,000
4 £5,000
5 £10,000

Above amounts as of 2019.

In respect of Acts of Parliament that extend to the Isle of Man the UK standard scale is used.

  • Interpretation Act 2015 (An Act of Tynwald)
  • Criminal Justice Act 1982 (An Act of Parliament) as extended to the Island by the Criminal Justice Act 1982 (Isle of Man) Order 1983, and amended by the Criminal Justice Act 1982 (Isle of Man) Order 1992.[1]

JerseyEdit

 

Jersey standard scale
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 £200
2 £1,000
3 £10,000

Above amounts as of 2019.

HistoricEdit

Jersey standard scale 1993-2016
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 £50
2 £500
3 £2,000
4 £5,500

United KingdomEdit

Schedule 1 to the Interpretation Act 1978[2] defines "the standard scale" for each United Kingdom jurisdiction with reference to the following statutes.

The "statutory maximum", which is the maximum fine which can be imposed by a summary court for a triable either way statutory offence, is similarly defined by the Interpretation Act 1978 so as to correspond to the "prescribed sum" (in effect to the maximum (level 5) fine on the standard scale, except in Scotland).

England and WalesEdit

   

ScotlandEdit

  The setting of the levels of the standard scale of fines in Scotland is a matter devolved to the Scottish Government.

With effect from 10 December 2007, the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007 increased the "prescribed sum", and with it the "statutory maximum" from £5,000 to £10,000. The level of fines on the standard scale was unaltered.[6]

Northern IrelandEdit

ScaleEdit

  UK standard scale
Scale level Maximum fine
1 £200
2 £500
3 £1,000
4 £2,500
5 Unlimited

The above amounts apply with respect to offences committed on or after the following dates:

  • in England and Wales and in Scotland, 1 October 1992 (by virtue of Criminal Justice Act 1991 (Commencement No 3) Order 1992)[9]
  • in Northern Ireland, 9 January 1995 (by virtue of Criminal Justice (1994 Order) (Commencement) Order (Northern Ireland) 1994.[10]

The United Kingdom standard scale was extended in respect of certain offences to two Crown dependencies:

  • the Isle of Man, with effect from 1 December 1992 (by virtue of Criminal Justice Act 1982 (Isle of Man) Order 1992).[11]
  • Guernsey, with effect from 1 February 1993 (by virtue of Criminal Justice Act 1982 (Guernsey) Order 1992.)[12]
HistoricalEdit

Before March 2015, the level 5 limit was £5,000. This limit was removed by section 85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.[13] The level 1–4 limits were unaffected.

Between 1984 and 1992, the standard scale in England and Wales was as follows:

Scale between 1984 and 1992
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 £50
2 £100
3 £400
4 £1,000
5 £2,000

Hong KongEdit

 

  • Chapter 221 Criminal Procedure Ordinance, section 113B – Levels of fines for offences[14]
  • Chapter 221 Criminal Procedure Ordinance, schedule 8 – Level of fines for offences[14]

Fines specified in prior legislation were converted to points on the standard scale by section 113C.

Hong Kong standard scale
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 HK$2,000
2 $5,000
3 $10,000
4 $25,000
5 $50,000
6 $100,000

Above amounts as of 2019.

ZimbabweEdit

 

Further readingEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  •   Ormerod, David; Hooper, Rt Hon Lord Justice (2009). Blackstone's Criminal Practice 2010. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-957424-7.