Out-Law / Your Daily Need-To-Know

Scottish corporate offenders face new 'victim surcharge' on penalties

Out-Law News | 13 Nov 2019 | 9:50 am | 1 min. read

Corporate offenders sentenced in Scotland face will face higher financial penalties when a new 'victim surcharge' is applied from later this month.

Scottish judges and sheriffs will be required to add a victim surcharge of up to 7.5% to financial penalties imposed for offences committed on or after 25 November 2019. The proceeds will be paid to a new Victim Surcharge Fund, and paid out to victim support organisations upon application.

A victim surcharge is already payable by individual and corporate offenders in England, having been introduced in April 2007. However, the surcharge is capped at £181 for offences committed on or after 1 October 2012. No such caps will apply in Scotland.

Metcalfe Katherine

Katherine Metcalfe

Legal Director

This will significantly add to the financial penalty imposed on organisations following conviction for health and safety and environmental offences, and corporate crime.

Health and safety law expert Katherine Metcalfe of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: "Unlike in England, where the victim surcharge is rarely a significant part of a penalty payable by an organisation, the proposed system in Scotland will be 7.5% of the fine where the penalty is more than £10,000, with no cap and no discretion for sentencing judges".

"This will significantly add to the financial penalty imposed on organisations following conviction for health and safety and environmental offences, and corporate crime," she said.

Scottish courts imposed 38,474 fines in 2017-18, according to figures provided by the Scottish government.

The amount payable under the victim surcharge in Scotland will vary depending on the level of the fine. The surcharge starts at £10 on fines up to and including £200 rising to £20 on fines up to £500, £40 on fines up to £1,000, £75 on fines up to £2,500, £175 on fines up to £5,000 and £350 on fines up to £10,000. A 7.5% victim surcharge will be applied on fines in excess of £10,000.

The victim surcharge will be payable on financial penalties only unlike in England, where a surcharge is also payable on custodial sentences.