Priority Debts

Magistrates Courts Fines

What is this?
This information covers magistrates’ court fines only.

The county court deals with actions for non-priority debts, such as credit card debts.

The magistrates’ court can fine you for committing a driving offence or not having a TV licence, as well as other criminal offences.
What can I do?

  • If the court has not started further action following a fine, find out how much of the fine you can afford to pay and make an offer. You can do this by working out all of the money you have coming in and the money you have to pay out for essentials. You can use your bank statements and any bills and any benefit letters to help you work out how much you can afford to pay. You can also work out your budget by going to and clicking on "Your budget". When you have filled in your budget, go to Step 2. You can then send a copy of your budget and make an affordable offer to the court. Check your letters from the court to see who you should send this to.
  • Keep paying what you can afford while you are waiting for a response- don’t just stop paying. Sometimes the court will ask you to attend a hearing so it can look at the payment arrangement. You are always advised to attend the court hearings.

What can the courts do if I do not pay the fine?

The magistrates’ court can take the following action if you don’t pay the fine:

  • Tell your employer to take money directly from your wages to pay the fine.
  • Ask for money to be taken directly from certain benefits to pay the fine.
  • Use bailiffs to try and take your goods to sell to pay the fine.
  • Include the fine on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines. This can affect your credit rating.
  • Make a clamping order, which could lead to your vehicle being sold.
  • Ask the County Court to collect the debt.
  • Send you to prison if you refuse to pay, or if you had the money to pay but did not do so.
Our Debt information has been developed in partnership with The Money Advice Trust.

If you need further support, contact us at the Adviceline on or book an appointment with one of our Advisers HERE.

Date modified: September 22 2021 | Date created: June 16 2021

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