This is a single section from Chapter 22. Read the full chapter here.

Should the conduct be subject to an infringement offence?

Infringement offences should be reserved for matters regarded as being of concern to the community and should be prohibited, but do not justify the imposition of a criminal conviction, significant fine, or imprisonment.


The recent development of infringement offence regimes has been inconsistent. The Ministry of Justice has produced guidelines, approved by Cabinet, on the development of infringement schemes which departments should adhere to.

Infringement penalties may be appropriate when:


  • large numbers of strict liability offences are committed in high volumes on a regular basis;
  • the conduct involves straightforward issues of fact that can be easily identified by an enforcement officer;
  • a “one size fits all” approach to penalising conduct can achieve a proportionate deterrent effect;
  • identifying actual offenders is not practical (for instance, in relation to parking, speed cameras or toll road offences), but liability may be attributed to the person most able to exercise control of the offending (such as the owner of the vehicle that is found speeding or illegally parked).


Infringement penalties will not generally be appropriate in cases that involve complex factual situations, offences that require a mental element, offences that require significant fines (more than $1,000), or offences that the community considers would warrant a sentence of imprisonment.

Although called an “offence”, no conviction results if the infringement fee is paid.

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