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Fine Default Initiatives

Means Enquiry Form

The purpose of a means enquiry form is to provide the court with information on a defendants’ financial situation when it is considering imposing a fine.  This will help the court in making decisions about the level of fine to impose and it will also assist  in determining any application a defendant may make, at the point of sentence, for extra time to pay or to pay by instalments.

The means enquiry form asks for details of a defendant’s income and outgoings.  If a defendant does not provide information about his or her financial situation, a court may make whatever determination it thinks fit.  It is, therefore, in the defendants’ best interests to complete the form as fully as possible and to return it to the court before a fine is imposed.

If a defendant intends to plead guilty by post and not attend the court hearing it is important for the court to have information on their ability to pay any fine to be imposed.

Anyone needing help completing a means enquiry form may contact a solicitor or advice centre.  Contact details for Citizens Advice are included on the form.

Copies of the means enquiry form are available from court offices, or you can download it electronically from our website by using the following links:

Download the Means Enquiry Form (PDF) or Download the Means Enquiry Form (Word)

Fine payment record

The court may also consider a defendant’s  "fine payment record" if they have been previously fined.

The fine payment record shows details of fines imposed on a defendant over the previous 3 years, and whether these have been paid.  It will be provided to the District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts), if a fine is being contemplated, at the point of sentence.  A copy of the record will be given to the defendant at this stage, although a defendant may also request a copy of the record at any time before attending court, from:

Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service
Customer Services Centre
The Courthouse
Bishop Street
BT48 6PQ.

Tel: 030 0200 7812