§ Lord Brabazon of Tara
asked Her Majesty's Government:
(i) whether it is their intention, in amending the Criminal Justice Act 1991 so as to replace the system of unit fines, to revert to the law as it was before the Act came into force in October 1991, or whether they intend to introduce another new set of proposals; and (ii) whether they will take steps to ensure that, whatever replacement provisions are intended, they can be brought into effect quickly, and applied to all relevant offences committed since October 1992, so as to avoid the confusion and the inequity of having two or three systems of sentencing in use by the courts at the same time.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Earl Ferrers)
The provisions, which will replace the unit fine scheme, will retain the principle which applied in magistrates' courts before the Criminal Justice Act 1991—namely, that an offender's means should be taken into account in setting a fine—but there will not be a statutory mechanism for calculating the fine. We are currently considering the exact form which these provisions will take. Our intention is that the provisions will be introduced as parliamentary and other factors allow. Consideration is also being given to the transitional arrangements which will apply.