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Warrants to imprison under section 160 of the Infringements Act

Important changes from 1 July 2017

From 1 July 2017, the Infringements Act 2006 (Vic) was changed as part of Victoria's fines reform process, including new ‘social justice initiatives' that affect people experiencing vulnerability. On 31 December 2017, the Fines Reform Act 2014 (Vic) commenced, creating Fines Victoria. This resulted in significant further changes to the infringements system and substantially shorter timeframes for dealing with infringements and fines.

Please be aware of these reforms in relation to any infringements assistance that you are providing to your clients.

We are in the process of updating Homeless Law in Practice. Justice Connect Homeless Law pro bono lawyers should read our further materials about the changes here (password needed), before doing any fines work after 1 July 2017. Please speak to your supervising lawyer, team leader or Homeless Law staff for more information.

Summary of options for dealing with section 160 imprisonment warrants

The vast majority of imprisonment matters that Homeless Law runs involve situations where an imprisonment in lieu order has been made under section 160 of the Infringements Act, the client has defaulted on the payment plan and a warrant to imprison has been issued.  More information is available in Hearing and sentencing under section 160.

Some options that may be available to clients who have been issued with warrants to imprison under section 160 of the Infringements Act are to:

In practice, the two main legal avenues Homeless Law use for addressing warrants to imprison under section 160 are applying for a rehearing under section 160B of the Infringements Act (if the client was sentenced under s.160(1)), and applying to have the warrant recalled and cancelled under section 58 of the Magistrates' Court Act.

It is important to note that your client does not have the option to appeal the judgment made by a Magistrate at a section 160 hearing to the County Court or Supreme Court on the merits since there is no right to appeal contained in the Infringements Act and sections 254 and 272 of the Criminal Procedure Act do not apply to an order under section 160 of the Infringements Act because it is not a criminal proceeding (see Fernando v Port Phillip City Council & Ors [2011] VSC 592).