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Elect to have the matter heard in open court

Before a fine has been registered with Fines Victoria, your client may elect to have the matter heard in open court rather than have the fine dealt with under the infringements system. A client may wish to pursue this option if they are adamant that they did not commit the offence (noting that internal review and enforcement review can be made based on mistake of identity if that is what a client is claiming).

It is important to note that there are risks in electing to have the matter heard before a Magistrate in open court. At open court, there is a risk that higher penalties will be imposed, a conviction recorded against the person or liability for court costs imposed. Alternatively, the court may convert the fines to community work, reduce the amount of the penalty or allow the person to pay by instalments.

If your client nevertheless wishes to elect to go to open court, we recommend you contact the Homeless Law lawyers to discuss the recommended steps.

This option is not available for clients with excessive speed, drug driving and drink driving offences.

If the fine is at enforcement stage, your client will no longer have the option to elect to go to open court. Here are the options available to your client at this stage.

How to elect to go to open court

If the fine is at infringement notice stage, your client can contact the enforcement agency directly and advise them of his or her decision to go to court (s 16 Infringements Act 2006 (Vic) (IA)). If a penalty reminder notice has been served, then this election must be in writing and be served upon the enforcement agency (s 30 IA) within 28 days the penalty reminder notice being served on your client. Generally, your client can do this by completing the relevant section on the back of the infringement notice and returning it by post to the issuing agency.

If the matter is heard in open court, both you and your client should attend.

More information about appearing in open court.