Thursday, 26 September 2019
The Law Society of Western Australia and the Law Council of Australia have welcomed the announcement by the Attorney General the Hon John Quigley MLA of proposed changes to the enforcement and recovery of fines in WA.
The Fines, Penalties and Infringement Notices Enforcement Amendment Bill 2019 (WA) has been introduced into State Parliament and proposes to make imprisonment for non-payment of fines “restricted so as it can only be ordered by a Magistrate, and even then only as a sanction of last resort”.
Law Society President Greg McIntyre SC said, “Imprisonment for fine default has impacted adversely on the most vulnerable in our community, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and has a huge cost socially and to the taxpayer. Replacement by debt recovery and community service options is welcome and will be far less costly to the community.”
Law Council of Australia President Arthur Moses SC said, “Imprisonment for fine default is an inherently disproportionate and ineffective punishment which only serves to criminalise people living in poverty. This Bill will bring Western Australia further in line with the recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission in the Pathways to Justice Report and of the Law Council in the Final Report of the Justice Project, which called for the practice to be abolished in all jurisdictions.”
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About us: The Law Society of Western Australia is the peak professional association for lawyers in the State. The Society is a not-for-profit association dedicated to the representation of its more than 4,000 members. The Society enhances the legal profession through its position as a respected leader and contributor on law reform, access to justice and the rule of law. The Society is widely acknowledged by the legal profession, government and the community as the voice of the legal profession in Western Australia.