It has been announced that as from the 28th June 2019, the Victim Surcharge is to be increased under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Surcharge) (Amendment) Order 2019. The Victim Surcharge is ordered to be paid when someone either pleads guilty or are convicted after trial of a criminal offence before the Criminal courts in England & Wales.
The increased figure does not apply where the Court is sentencing a defendant for a single offence committed before 28th June 2019, nor where there is more than one offence and at least one of those offences was committed before the commencement date.
The Victim Surcharge is a mandatory order with the Magistrates given almost no discretion when to make the order. The Victim Surcharge was originally introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Surcharge No. 2) Order 2007.
There is some debate and arguments of the unfairness of imposing such costs on defendants with limited or no means, or where they are imprisoned for significant custodial sentences.
The few circumstances where the Court has discretion includes where the Court chooses to prefer to impose a Compensation Order, unlawful profit order or a slavery and trafficking reparation order and the court considers the defendant to have insufficient means to pay both, then the court must reduce the surcharge accordingly (if necessary to nil).
On top of victim surcharge the Court may also make Defendants pay Fines and Prosecution Costs etc. The total amount can be significant, especially for Defendants who may have their benefits sanctioned or stopped, homeless, mental health issues etc. And for those cases not eligible for legal aid (either financially or not meeting the interests of justice test), they may also be paying for costs of legal representation.
Many defendants owe the Courts thousands of pounds already from previous cases which they are unable to reduce. Especially those previously asked to pay the much derided Criminal Courts Charge.
Youths Under 18
|Youth Rehabilitation Order
Adults (18 and over)
|10% value rounded to nearest pound. Min £32, max £181
6 months or less
|Suspended Sentence Exceeding 6 months
|Custodial Sentence Upto 6 months
|Custodial Sentence -More than 6 months upto 24 months
|Custodial Sentence – Exceeding 24 months
|Custodial Sentence – Life Imprisonment
Also note that under Section 161A(4) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 victim surcharge is also not imposed if the court sentences to an absolute discharge or an order under the Mental Health Act 1983.