Government to prevent fines stacking up for people in debt
In future, people willing to pay their fines, but who are unable to do so due to problematic debts, will be given more opportunities. The Minister for Legal Protection, Sander Dekker, will be introducing an 'emergency stop procedure' (noodstopprocedure) to this end on 1 April 2020, which will be used by the Central Fine Collection Agency (CJIB). This is intended to prevent people's problems from becoming even greater.
Minister Dekker: 'Debt collection should be done in a responsible and decent manner. Anyone who is fined for traffic offences should of course suffer the consequences. And anyone who doesn't pay will risk having their fine increased. However, anyone who does want to pay, but is unable to do so because of problems with existing debts, should not have their problems exacerbated unnecessarily. The new procedure will benefit both parties. Although the punitive aspect of fines will be retained, we will also be providing individuals with a chance to restore order to their lives through debt counselling.'
Emergency stop procedure
In future, an 'emergency stop' (noodstop) will apply to traffic fines and criminal-law monetary sanctions, such as those imposed by the courts or the Public Prosecution Service. This will involve the following:
- Anyone who is unable to pay their fine due to debts, and where there is no prospect that they will be able to pay it, will be eligible for an 'emergency stop', which will be in place for a maximum of four months.
- In such cases, the Central Fine Collection Agency will postpone collecting the debt and no increased fines will be imposed as a penalty for non-payment.
- Anyone subject to such an emergency stop will have to report to their municipality for debt counselling. If debt counselling ensues, the emergency stop can be extended to eight months.
- After the emergency stop, the fine can be paid in instalments.
- The emergency stop can be terminated if any agreements are not adhered to.
Introduction on 1 April 2020
The emergency stop procedure was developed over the past year in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, the Central Fine Collection Agency (CJIB), the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), Divosa, the Association for Debt Counselling and Social Banking (NVVK) and the municipalities of Amsterdam, The Hague, Eindhoven, Haarlem, Tilburg and Deventer. The procedure will be introduced at national level on 1 April 2020. With this procedure, Minister Dekker will be honouring the Coalition Agreement, which set out the intention of imposing a maximum amount that fines can be increased to in the event of late payment. This is also in keeping with the government's Action Plan for Tackling Debt Comprehensively (Actieplan Brede Schuldenaanpak).