Where a person has incurred a pecuniary debt (by virtue of a court ordered fine, compensation, victim of crime levy, etc), they can participate in a treatment program in lieu of paying the debt, through either an agreement with the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit, or pursuant to a court order as part of an enforcement action.
Treatment program by agreement with Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit
The Chief Recovery Officer can refer debtors to treatment programs to offset the debt they owe, where they are satisfied that the debtor cannot pay the debt without them or their dependants suffering hardship [Fines Enforcement and Debt Recovery Act 2017 (SA) ss 15(5)(g) and 15(7)]. The Chief Recovery Officer must also be satisfied that the debtor is suitable to participate in a program that is also available at an appropriate time and place [s 15(7)].
If a debtor completes or substantially completes an approved treatment program, the Chief Recovery Officer must waive payment of whole or part of the debt [s 15(13)].
If, at any time, the Chief Recovery Officer is satisfied that the debtor subject to a treatment program agreement has the means to pay the debt without them or their dependants suffering hardship, they may terminate the agreement by notice in writing to the debtor [s 15(10)].
The Chief Recovery Officer has the power to enter into, vary and revoke an agreement to participate in a treatment program without the need to apply to the court.
Treatment program as an enforcement action
Where the debtor has not complied with an agreement in relation to the debt, and other enforcement action has failed or is inappropriate, an application may be made to the court for a treatment program order [s 46].The court has the ability to make appropriate orders for the assessment of the debtor's eligibility and suitability in a treatment program [s 46(14)].
Where the debtor has complied with an order relating to a treatment program, the monetary amount owed must be reduced accordingly by the method prescribed by regulations [s 46(13)].
If a debtor does not comply with a court-ordered treatment program, then a term of imprisonment can be imposed in default of compliance [s 47]. The term of imprisonment is determined in accordance with method set out in the regulations [s 47(3)].
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