COVID fines test case launched in NSW Supreme Court
RLC has launched a case in the Supreme Court of NSW representing clients that will argue that their COVID-19 fines are invalid because the penalty notices they received lacked sufficient detail about the offence, as required under the Fines Act.
If successful, it is our hope this test case will set a precedent that will invalidate tens of thousands of similarly worded and wrongfully issued COVID-19 fines.
These large on-the-spot penalties are not means tested, and for many clients of community legal centres, the impact of a $1000 or $3000 fine can be devastating. Unpaid fines can lead to serious financial outcomes including loss of licence and property.
Rohan Pank, one of the intended plaintiffs in the case, has now had his fine withdrawn. Mr Pank was fined in August 2021 for sitting in a park with his girlfriend while not in an area of concern, at a time when outdoor exercise and recreation was permitted.
Shortly after our judicial review request was filed, Mr Pank was informed by Revenue NSW that his fine had been cancelled. He was given no explanation for this decision, which followed two previously unsuccessful fine review attempts.
This new decision about our client’s fine means that it may be possible that other fines similar in nature may also be cancelled. We encourage anyone who thinks they may have been fined unfairly to seek a review, even if they have previously had a review request rejected by Revenue NSW.
You can seek a review through Revenue NSW, or for confidential and free legal advice, contact:
- your local community legal centre
- Legal Aid
- or contact Redfern Legal Centre (www.rlc.org.au/contact, phone 02 9698 7277)
RLC has also produced several factsheets on fines: