Lawyers in bid to overturn millions of pounds worth of fines
Lawyers are embarking on a legal bid to overturn millions of pounds worth of fixed penalty fines handed out for minor offences such as dropping litter.
It is claimed the £40 fines, given for anti-social behaviour such as drunkenness or vandalism are flawed because the system offers virtually no opportunity for appeal when a fine has been improperly served.
The system in Scotland is different to the one in place in England where there is an automatic right of appeal through the courts.
In Scotland however, there is no procedure to challenge a police “on the spot” fine.
Under such cases, lawyers are arguing that it upends the presumption of innocence.
It is also being claimed that fixed penalty legislation is incompatible with citizens’ rights, as it upends the presumption of innocence.
A case, which is to argue against the current system, is due in the Court of Session in January and, if successful, could result in a host of claims for those that have paid £40.
Solicitor Paul Lynch and civil law practitioner Jilly Melrose say people are being snared by a flawed system that robs them of basic human rights.
According to Mr Lynch young people are particularly impacted by the “flawed” system because they often opt to pay a fine without telling parents or carers.
Mr Lynch said: “One of the main issues raised by the case is the absence of any appeal procedure. The equivalent English provisions allow courts there to set aside such fines.”