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Dealing with enforcement orders

Important changes from 31 December 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.

Dealing with enforcement orders

Timeframes for enforcement orders - warrants and expiry

What happens if no action is taken?

If your client takes no action within 28 days of receiving the enforcement order, the Infringements Registrar must issue an infringement warrant under section 80 of the Infringements Act.  An additional fee of $59.84 (as at 1 July 2015) for the issue of a warrant is added and allows for further enforcement action, including the sheriff being able to detain or immobilise your client's car, suspend your client's licence and even arrest. 

If your client has received a warrant but it has not yet been executed, your client has the same options as listed above.  If your client receives a warrant and the warrant has been executed, your client will have more limited options.  Click here to see those options.  More information about infringement warrants is also available here.

When does an enforcement order expire?

Generally, an enforcement order expires five years after it being made or after the making of a payment order (section 62).  Once the enforcement order expires, any amount still outstanding in respect of the fine ceases to be enforceable or recoverable, however, the Infringements Registrar may reinstate an enforcement order that has expired on the Infringements Registrar's own motion or on the application of the enforcement agency (section 63).  An enforcement order can only be reinstated once by the Infringements Registrar.  

As the underlying infringements do not expire, it means that there is a risk that enforcement orders can be reinstated.   

You should advise your client of this risk and, when closing the matter, advise them to seek legal assistance immediately if she or she receives an enforcement order, infringement warrant or seven day notice in the future.