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Apply to vary instalment order

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.

Under section 160(4) of the Infringements Act, if a Magistrate makes an imprisonment in lieu (IIL) order, a Magistrate is able to make the payments payable by instalments under the Sentencing Act.

If the Magistrate makes an imprisonment in default of instalment order, your client is able to make an application to vary the instalment order in certain circumstances under section 160A of the Infringements Act. Section 160A provides that the Magistrates' Court may vary the instalment order if it is satisfied that:

  • The circumstances of the offender have materially altered since the order was made and as a result the offender will not be able to comply with the order; or
  • The circumstances of the offender were wrongly stated or were not accurately presented to the court or the author of a pre-sentence report before the order was made.

If your client instructs you to make an application to vary the instalment order, you should prepare:

You should ensure that your application clearly addresses the reasons that your client is applying for a variation and includes supporting documentation such as letters from a GP, psychologist, other treating professional or support worker. You should also include as supporting evidence regarding your client’s financial situation, including evidence of income and expenditure, a detailed budget and any other relevant documentation.

Once these documents are completed, you can go to the Magistrates' Court, file them using the original case number on which the IIL and instalment order was made, and you and your client should expect to be able to appear before the Magistrate that day. It is preferred that the application is heard before the same Magistrate who made the original order if they are available. If the hearing is not listed on the same day the application is filed, the registrar will need to complete the ‘Listing of Application’ section of the application form.

A template application letter to the Magistrates’ Court is here.