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Crown Court Sentencing Survey

What it is

The Crown Court Sentencing Survey is an ongoing data collection exercise of sentencing decisions made in the Crown Court.

Why we are doing it

The Survey has been designed to assist the Council with fulfilling its duties under section 128 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

What it will achieve

The survey aims specifically to provide data that will enable:

  • effective monitoring of how sentencing guidelines are used and applied in practice and whether they sufficiently encompass the range of cases being sentenced by the courts;
  • the production of new sentencing guidelines with reference to existing practice;
  • forecasting of how sentencing practice is anticipated to change;
  • the preparation of resource assessments on correctional resources of proposed sentencing guidelines and changes to existing guidelines; and
  • the preparation of resource assessments on demand for  correctional resources of proposed government initiatives and/or legislation.
    Results from the survey will also be used to fulfill the Council’s obligations under sections 127 and 129 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.


The survey commenced on 1st October 2010. From this date all judges (or other sentencers) sitting in the Crown Court should complete a form every time a sentence is passed.

There are ten different survey forms that cover different types of offence. Offences have been grouped together where there are similar mitigating and aggravating factors. The form needs to be completed in respect of the principal offence for every sentence passed.

The forms record details of the factors relied on by the sentencer in deciding the sentence which will have been stated in court. They do not record any additional information. Examples of the survey forms can be found below.

The completed survey forms are the property of the Sentencing Council and are solely to be used for data and analysis purposes. The Office is the data processor for the purposes of the Data Protection Act. Any requests for disclosure of the forms should be made or referred to the Office.

The design and analysis of the survey is managed and conducted in-house by the analytical team in the Office of the Sentencing Council. The processing of the survey forms is being conducted outside of the team due to the large volume of data that will be gathered.

The results for 2013 were published on 26 June 2014. This covers all sentences passed by the Crown Court in 2013. The results focus on exploring the relationship between the factors taken into account in sentencing and the final sentence imposed, to help improve understanding of the sentencing process.

If you have any queries about the survey, please email us entering 'Crown Court Sentencing Survey' in the subject line.