Section 70NFF of the Family Law Act 1975 discusses the procedure for enforcing community service orders or bonds. A community service order is an alternative penalty. Generally, these types of orders involve the offender doing voluntary work for the community for up to 500 hours. Courts have the power to make community service orders under the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999.
On the other hand, a good behaviour bond is also a sentencing option. This is an order that requires an offender to display ‘good behaviour’ for a specific time period. Also, a bond releases an offender into the community rather than imprisoning them. This article will examine Section 70NFF of the Family Law Act.
FAMILY LAW ACT 1975 – SECT 70NFF
(1) If a court makes a community service order under paragraph 70NFB(2)(a) in respect of a person, or an order under paragraph 70NFB(2)(b) requiring a person to enter into a bond in accordance with section 70NFE, the following provisions have effect.
(2) If the court (whether or not constituted by the judge or magistrate who made the community service order or required the bond to be entered into in accordance with section 70NFE) is satisfied that the person has, without reasonable excuse, failed to comply with the order or bond, the court may take action under subsection.
(3) The court may:
(a) without prejudice to the continuance of the community service order or the bond entered into in accordance with section 70NFE, impose a fine not exceeding 10 penalty units on the person; or
(b) revoke the community service order or the bond entered into in accordance with section 70NFE and, subject to subsection (4), deal with the person, for the contravention in respect of which the community service order was made or the bond was entered into, in any manner in which the person could have been dealt with for the contravention if:
(i) the community service order had not been made or the bond had not been entered into; and
(ii) the person was before the court under section 70NFB in respect of the contravention.
(4) In dealing with the person as mentioned in paragraph (3)(b), the court must, in addition to any other matters that it considers should be taken into account, take into account:
(a) the fact that the community service order was made or the bond was entered into; and
(b) anything done under the community service order or pursuant to the bond; and
(c) any fine imposed, and any other order made, for or in respect of the contravention.
Section 70NFF Family Law Act: Community Service Order Compliance
Offenders must strictly comply with community service orders and good behaviour bonds. In turn, they may face legal matters when they fail to comply. For example, if a parent fails to comply or makes an effort in following a parenting order. Contravening a parenting order means a person has violated a parenting order. A community service order involves the offender doing unpaid work in the community.
Additionally, they can also attend centres that offer courses such as anger management. A community service order will reflect on an offender’s criminal record. Generally, an offender must undergo an assessment from a Community Corrections Officer. The maximum number of hours of community service that a court can impose is:
- 100 hours – where the imposed maximum term of jail time does not exceed six months.
- 200 hours – where the imposed maximum term of jail time does not exceed a year.
- 500 hours – where the imposed maximum term of jail time exceeds one year.
Eligibility For Community Service Orders
A community service order will only apply to offenders under these certain requirements:
- An offender is a suitable person for community service work
- It is appropriate in all circumstances that the offender delivers community service work
- The arrangements exist in the offender’s residing area for them to perform community service work
- The arrangements will provide the community service work
People commonly encounter difficulties with eligibility assessments due to:
- Unresolved mental health issues;
- Drug/alcohol issues;
- Physical disabilities or injuries; and/or
- Work commitments that hinder an offender to perform community service work.
Non-Compliance With Good Behaviour Bonds
In New South Wales breaching a good behaviour bond will result in a number of penalties. In most instances, offenders will be summoned to return to court. However, some instances will require the court to issue a warrant of arrest.
At court, offenders might receive a warning and have no further action taken. Also, the court has the power to change the conditions in the bond or revoke the bond. If they choose to revoke the bond, they can impose a different penalty offence. Thus, offenders might receive a heavier penalty.
The Court can impose the original penalty, which could also be imprisonment, depending on the nature of the offence. If the original penalty was imprisonment, the sentence of imprisonment will start immediately after the Court revokes the bond.
Notably, a person can breach a bond if they commit a new offence. In this case, the Court will charge a heavy penalty to the offender, as he/she committed the new offence while they were on conditional release.
Section 70NFF Family Law Act: How Mediation Can Help Offenders
Offenders should comply with community service orders and bonds as it serves as their punishment for contravening parenting orders. While heavier penalties exist, there are other approaches for them to gain a lighter penalty.
People who are amidst some family law disputes have widely used mediation as a way of coming to an agreement. Therefore, our seasoned family lawyers will represent you in court and appeal for a lighter penalty.
Contact us today to know more about Section 70NFF of the Family Law Act.