Statement of Means
What is a Statement of Means?
When a case is referred to Court, the amount of the fine is based not only on the nature of the offence and mitigation presented, but also on the Defendant's ability to pay. The Court will establish the latter by way of the Statement of Means which is a questionnaire designed to clarify the Defendant's income and outgoings.
What will the Court do with my details?
The Court will use this information to set the fine and also to enforce it, if a fine is not paid. For example, the Court can use the information about employment to secure an Attachment of Earnings Order.
Why, if I am earning more, should I pay a higher fine?
The fine system is, to some degree, based on ability to pay. The belief is that by taking into account the Defendant's circumstances, the correct penalty can be set for each individual. A £300 fine may be appropriate with somebody with limited disposable income but not for somebody who is easily able to afford same and thus would not be "punished".
I don't wish to disclose my income. What will happen if I send the form back uncompleted?
Where the Defendant fails to provide information or, the Court concludes that the information supplied is unreliable, the Court has discretion to calculate a fine on an assumed relevant weekly income of £440, which is believed to be the average income across the country. However, if there is some information that infers that such an assumption is wrong, whether it is too high or too low, the Court can calculate a fine based on what it believes to be appropriate. It follows that a high earner who deliberately withholds information in the hope that the relevant weekly income will be calculated at £440, may well find that the fine is significantly higher than the anticipated figure. Further, a refusal to complete the Statement of Means can result in a further fine being imposed.
Should I seek legal advice before completing a Statement of Means?
It is always sensible to seek advice on any Court document and a review of the Statement of Means would normally be incorporated as part of any legal assistance.
I have misplaced my Statement of Means Form, where can I obtain a duplicate?
The Court will provide you with a further copy, alternatively you can download a duplicate from the following link: