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Govt to improve pecuniary penalties regime

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Amy Adams.
Amy Adams.

Changes to the provisions governing the use of pecuniary penalties will improve the effectiveness of the legal system, says Justice Minister Amy Adams.

Ms Adams today tabled in Parliament the Government Response to the Law Commission Report Pecuniary Penalties: Guidance for Legislative Design.

Pecuniary penalties are fines imposed on an individual or a company by the High Court in civil law processes and can involve large sums of money being paid to the Crown.

The report looks at the unique nature of pecuniary penalties, the circumstances in which they should be used and the legal framework underpinning them.

"Pecuniary penalties are a useful legislative tool that provides an option that’s not as severe as criminal convictions but is more serious than infringement penalties which are used for relatively minor breaches of the law. However, current inconsistencies in the level and use of pecuniary penalties need to be addressed," says Ms Adams.

Ms Adams says the Government accepts in principle the majority of the Law Commission’s recommendations.

The key initiative is to provide guidelines for government departments that are considering including pecuniary penalties in new Acts and regulations. Ms Adams says further work is required to analyse the guidelines proposed in the Law Commission's report.

The Ministry of Justice will report back to the Minister on progress on the various initiatives by the end of 2015.

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