Law Commission makes recommendations on the design of pecuniary penalties

Publication Date 
30 August 2014

The Law Commission released its Report Pecuniary Penalties: Guidance for Legislative Design (R133) on 30 October 2014. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in a number of regulatory regimes. They were first used in 1986 in the Commerce Act and now appear in 18 Acts of Parliament.

In the report, the Commission concludes that pecuniary penalties are a legitimate regulatory tool when used appropriately. However, they need to be carefully designed so that they do not create a risk of unfairness or injustice. The Commission makes nine recommendations to Government in that regard, as well as providing 21 guidance points for policymakers that cover best practice when designing pecuniary penalties.