Standard scale

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The standard scale is a system whereby financial criminal penalties (fines) in legislation have maximum levels set against a standard scale. Then, when inflation makes it necessary to increase the levels of the fines the legislators need to modify only the scale rather than each individual piece of legislation.

In English law, the reference in legislation will typically appear like so:

... liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both.

Legislation and level of fines[edit]


Further information: Penalty units

Channel Islands[edit]



Guernsey uses the UK standard scale for adopted UK legislation, and its own scale (called the uniform scale) for legislation originating in the States of Guernsey.

Guernsey's dependencies of Alderney and Sark have their own distinct scales, although these are generally in-line with the Guernsey scale.



  • The Uniform Scale of Fines (Alderney) Law 1989 as amended by The Uniform Scale of Fines (Alderney) (Amendment) Ordinance 2007.



Sark has its own standard scale, which is normally maintained at the same levels as Guernsey's.

  • The Uniform Scale of Fines (Sark) Law, 1989 as amended by the Uniform Scale of Fines (Sark) (Amendment) Ordinance, 1992, the Uniform Scale of Fines (Sark) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2004, and the Uniform Scale of Fines (Sark) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2006.

Hong Kong[edit]

Hong Kong

Fines specified in prior legislation were converted to points on the standard scale by section 113C.

Hong Kong standard scale
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 HK$$2,000
2 $5,000
3 $10,000
4 $25,000
5 $50,000
6 $100,000

Isle of Man[edit]

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man uses the UK standard scale, but only in respect of Acts of Parliament that extend to the Isle of Man. It does not apply to Acts of Tynwald, which instead include specified amounts within the legislation.



Jersey standard scale
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 £50
2 £500
3 £2,000
4 £5,500

Above amounts as of 2005.

United Kingdom[edit]

Schedule 1 to the Interpretation Act 1978 defines "the standard scale" for each United Kingdom jurisdiction with reference to the following statutes.

The "statutory maximum", which is the maximum fine which can be imposed by a summary court for a triable either way statutory offence, is similarly defined by the Interpretation Act 1978 so as to correspond to the "prescribed sum" (in effect to the maximum (level 5) fine on the standard scale, except in Scotland).

England and Wales[edit]

England Wales


Scotland The setting of the levels of the standard scale of fines in Scotland is a matter devolved to the Scottish Government.

With effect from 10 December 2007, the Criminal Proceedings etc. (Reform) (Scotland) Act 2007 has increased the "prescribed sum", and with it the "statutory maximum" from £5,000 to £10,000. The level of fines on the standard scale is unaltered.[1]

Northern Ireland[edit]


 UK standard scale
Scale Level Maximum fine
1 £200
2 £500
3 £1,000
4 £2,500
5 £5,000

The above amounts apply with respect to offences committed on or after the following dates:

The United Kingdom standard scale was extended in respect of certain offences to two Crown dependencies:


Between 1984 and 1992, the standard scale in England and Wales was as follows:

Scale between 1984 and 1992
Level on the scale Maximum fine
1 £50
2 £100
3 £400
4 £1,000
5 £2,000



Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2007 Act, section 48