Enforcement Review Program (ERP)

The Enforcement Review Program (ERP) assists members of the community who have ‘special circumstances’ and outstanding fines registered at the Infringements Court. The Program enables the Court to impose outcomes that reflect the circumstances of the offending.

Eligibility

Special circumstances matters are identified by section 65 of the Infringements Act 2006.  An application in relation to ‘special circumstances’ may include any of the following:

  • A diagnosed mental illness:
    • Alzheimer’s disease
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Dementia
    • Depression and anxiety *
    • Psychosis
    • Schizophrenia
    • Severe mood disorder
  • Neurological Disorders:
    • Acquired brain injury
    • Huntington’s disease
    • Intellectual disability
    • Muscular sclerosis and other related diseases
    • Parkinson’s disease
  • A serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance within the meaning of section 57 of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981
  • Homelessness

If a person suffers from any of the above and it is evident that their judgement was impaired at the time of the offences, an application can be made for revocation of fines under the ‘special circumstances’ category.

Fines excluded from the revocation process include excessive speed matters, open court fines and drink/drug driving offences.

In relation to depression and anxiety applications, the registrar will require a detailed and comprehensive medical report outlining the severity of the illness.

How To Apply

A person who believes they have special circumstances may make an application, or a third party may apply on their behalf.  A third party can generally include a parent or guardian, medical practitioner, psychiatrist, caseworker, social worker, financial counsellor, carer, case manager or legal representative.

The application must seek revocation of the fines and be supported by medical evidence. 

The application must be in writing and outline the following:

  • the person’s financial capacity
  • any social factors that have impacted their lives
  • services they are currently linked with
  • Centrelink statements
  • any written reference

Medical evidence from a treating doctor or psychiatrist will need to outline:

    • a formal diagnosis
    • current treatment and compliance
    • duration of illness
    • how it has impaired the person’s judgment at the commission of offences

Evidence should be current and when supplied with an application, should be no more than 12 months old.

The application for revocation of fines along with the medical evidence and any attached documents that are relevant to the application must be forwarded to:

Special Circumstances Registrar
Infringements Court
Level 1
444 Swanston Street
Carlton VIC 3053
PO Box 14487
Melbourne VIC 8001

If the application is granted, the documentation will be made available to the prosecuting agencies to assist agencies to determine whether or not to withdraw proceedings. Should the prosecuting agency not withdraw within 28 days of the Registrar’s decision, the matter will be listed in open court before a Magistrate or Judicial Registrar for determination in the Special Circumstances List. The Infringements Court will correspond with all applicants if the application is refused.

Court Process

Clients must attend court and be prepared to plead guilty to the offence, unless they have exceptional circumstances such as being institutionalised.  The Magistrate or Judicial Registrar will take into consideration the ‘special circumstances’ outlined in the application when determining an appropriate outcome to the matter.  Magistrates and judicial registrars have full discretion as to what type of order can be imposed, but could include a dismissal pursuant Section 76 of the Sentencing Act 1991, an Undertaking to be of Good Behaviour or reimposition of the fine.  The prosecutor may request VicRoads to perform a licence review for driving related offences.  Demerit points are still recorded with VicRoads for the relevant regulated offences upon a finding of guilt.

‘Special Circumstances’ matters are set for hearing at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursdays and every third Wednesday of the month, with listings at 10am and 2pm in court room 17.

Legislation

The Infringements Act 2006 defines ‘Special Circumstances’ in relation to a person to mean:

(a) a mental or intellectual disability, disorder, disease or illness where the disability, disorder, disease or illness results in the person being unable:
(i)   to understand that conduct constitutes an offence; or
(ii)  to control conduct that constitutes an offence; or

(b) a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or a volatile substance within the meaning of Section 57 of the Drugs, Poisons, and Controlled Substances Act 1981 where the serious addiction results in the person being unable  -
(i)   to understand that conduct constitutes an offence; or
(ii)  to control conduct that constitutes an offence; or

(c) homelessness determined in accordance with the prescribed criteria (if any) where the homelessness results in the person being unable to control conduct which constitutes an offence.

Area of Legislation: