The provision to cap fines at £5,000 or £20,000 was abolished in March in favour of unlimited fines following the commencement of S.85 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
Offences affected by the new provisions, which cover England and Wales, include:
- Carrying on unauthorised licensable activities (previously £20,000)
- Exposing alcohol for unauthorised sale (previously £20,000)
- Allowing the sale of alcohol to children (previously £5,000)
- Persistently selling alcohol to children (previously £20,000)
- Consumption of alcohol by children (previously £5,000)
- Contravention of a closure order (previously £20,000)
“The effect is that where a fine was previously capped at £5,000 or above there is now no limit on the fine that can be given by the Magistrates' Court and so financial penalties are potentially unlimited,” Poppleston Allen solicitor Natasha Beck said.
She added the revision applies to convictions relating to offences committed on or after 12 March and the court must still take into account the financial circumstances of the offender when making their decision.