The Government has approved the final drafting of the Fines Bill 2012 which, when enacted, will allow people to pay a fine in instalments over 12 months.

If they fail to pay, one of a number of means to recover the value of the fine could include an order directing the person's employer to deduct the fine from their wages.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said the bill should all but eliminate the need to commit anyone to prison for the non-payment of fines.

Other means of recovery would include a recovery order, appointing a receiver to recover assets to the value of the fine, or a community service order could be imposed.

The Free Legal Advice Centre has welcomed the new legislation.

Senior researcher Paul Joyce said around 7,500 people went to prison for non-payment for fines in 2011.

Speaking on RTÉ Morning Ireland, he said a lot of those imprisonments were "unnecessary" and would have cost the State money.

However, he said the 12-month instalment option may need to be reviewed as it might not be enough time for people on lower incomes.

Mr Joyce also expressed concern about the option of having a fine directly deducted from a person's wage.

He said in this case the order will be directed to the employer and this could risk the "employer-employee relationship on a number of fronts" - and this option "should be a last resort".