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Fraud, bribery and money laundering offences guideline comes into effect

Following a period of training and implementation the definitive guideline on fraud, bribery and money laundering offences came into effect on 1 October 2014.

Versions for the Crown Court and magistrates' courts are available


New judicial member appointed to the Council

09 July 2014

A new judicial member has been appointed to the Sentencing Council by the Lord Chief Justice, with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor.

His Honour Judge Julian Goose QC is a representative from the Crown Court on the Council from 1 July 2014.

More information about Council members can be found here.


Environmental offences guideline comes into force

01 July 2014

The new guideline for environmental offences comes into force today. It covers a variety of offences including those related to the disposal of waste and rubbish and pollution offences, mostly covered by the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010.


Crown Court Sentencing Survey - annual results bulletin published

26 June 2014

The Council has published its results bulletin presenting the findings of the Crown Court Sentencing Survey for sentences passed by the Crown Court in 2013.

The findings and further information on the Crown Court Sentencing Survey can be found here.


Theft consultation closing soon - reminder to contribute

05 June 2014

The consultation on the Sentencing Council’s draft guideline on theft offences will close on 26 June and the Council would like to encourage as many people or organisations to give their views.

Submissions to the consultation can be made by email, post or by an online survey. All consultation documents, including the online survey, are available here.

 


Sentencing Council launches new definitive guideline for fraud, bribery and money laundering offences

23 May 2014

Today, the Sentencing Council is publishing a new guideline for judges and magistrates on the sentencing of fraud, bribery and money laundering offences.

The new guideline, which has been issued following a public consultation, will come into effect on 1 October 2014.

A press notice is available from here.


CPD points available: Sex offences guidelines webinars are online

21 May 2014

Three training providers currently have webinars available to view, which cover the key changes in the new sentencing guideline on sex offences. Participants will earn CPD points.

Find out more about the webinars.


Sentencing for theft offences – consultation launched on sentencing guidelines

03 April 2014

The Sentencing Council has launched a 12-week consultation on its proposed guidelines for judges and magistrates to use when sentencing people for theft offences.

Find out more about the consultation exercise.

Read the press release.


Sexual offences guideline comes into effect

01 April 2014

Following a period of training and implementation the definitive guideline on sexual offences came into effect on 1 April 2014.

Versions for the Crown Court and magistrates' courts are available.


Sentencing Council response to Civitas report: "Serious, Violent and Persistent Offenders"

The Sentencing Council has sent a response to Civitas following the publication earlier this month of its report "Serious, Violent and Persistent Offenders" due to our concerns about its use of statistics and the need to clarify the Council's accountability to Parliament.

You can read our response here.


Sentencing Council launches new definitive guideline for environmental offences

26 February 2014

Today, the Sentencing Council is publishing a new guideline for judges and magistrates on the sentencing of environmental offences.

The new guideline, which has been issued following a public consultation, will come into effect on 1 July 2014.

A press notice is available from here.


New sentencing guideline for corporate fraud

31 January 2014

The Sentencing Council has published a new sentencing guideline for the sentencing of organisations convicted of fraud, money laundering and bribery offences.

The guideline is part of the wider development of overall guidelines for all fraud offences committed by individuals, which will be published in the summer, following a 2013 public consultation.

The guideline aims to ensure consistent and appropriate sentencing for these crimes, removing any profit made through the offence and having a real economic impact on the offending organisation, including its shareholders.

This work was undertaken in large part due to the need to provide guidance for judges applying deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) which are expected to come into force in February.

While a DPA is not a criminal conviction and so the Sentencing Council cannot produce a guideline for them, the guidance can be used to inform the level of financial penalty that forms part of a DPA, which should be broadly comparable to the likely fine that would be imposed following a conviction after a guilty plea.

The guideline is therefore being published online to be referred to by judges operating the DPA scheme but will not yet be used in courts to sentence organisations that have been successfully prosecuted.

The guidelines will come into force in courts on 1 October.


Sentencing Council launches new definitive guideline for sexual offences

12 December 2013

Today, the Sentencing Council is publishing a new guideline for judges and magistrates on the sentencing of sexual offences.

The new guideline, which has been issued following a public consultation, will come into effect on 1 April 2014.

A press notice is available here.


New Sentencing Council chairman appointed

11 November 2013

Today, Lord Justice Treacy has been announced as the new chairman of the Sentencing Council. A member of the Council since it was established in 2010, his move to this role follows the announcement of previous chairman Lord Justice Leveson’s new role as President of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court.

His appointment has been made by the Lord Chief Justice with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, and is for an initial period of three years.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd said: “Lord Justice Treacy has been an enthusiastic and committed member of the Sentencing Council since it was set up in 2010. With his experience, he is ideally placed to build on its achievements so far and take forward its challenging workload.”

Chris Grayling added: “I am delighted to agree to this appointment. Lord Justice Treacy has already proved to be a valuable member of the Council and I am confident that as chair he will enable the Council to maintain its high standard of work.”

Lord Justice Treacy said: “The Council has a demanding and wide-ranging work programme which I look forward to leading. I am determined to build on the very solid foundation and achievements that have been achieved under the leadership of Lord Justice Leveson in the first three and a half years of the Council’s existence.

“My aim is to ensure that sentencing guidelines not only continue to provide a consistent and proportionate approach for judges and magistrates, but are also clear and accessible to the public so that they can see how sentencing works and have greater confidence in the process.”

Colman Treacy was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1971, was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990, a Recorder in 1991 and to the High Court Bench in 2002. He was Presiding Judge on the Midland Circuit from 2006 to 2009. As a High Court Judge he has sat in the Court of Appeal Criminal Division, the Divisional Court, the Queen’s Bench Division, and the Administrative Court and is a Visitor to the Inns of Court. In July 2012 he was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal.

Some notable cases he has presided over include the trial in 2011 of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the 2006 trial of Colin Gunn the head of an criminal gang in Nottingham and the 2005 trial, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, of Afghan warlord Faryadi Sarwar Zardad.

In 2010, he was the presiding judge in the case of the £1.7m robbery of the Menzies World Cargo warehouse at Heathrow Airport in 2004, which was the first significant criminal trial to be heard in England without a jury for more than 400 years.

Further information on other members of the Council is available as are copies of the latest guidelines.


Sentencing Council publishes 3rd annual report

11 July 2013

The Sentencing Council has published its third annual report outlining activities from April 2012 to March 2013.

The report details the Council’s work on guidelines covering: allocation, offences taken into consultation and totality; dangerous dog offences; fraud offences; sexual offences and environmental offences. It also covers ongoing research, including the Crown Court Sentencing Survey.

A copy of the report is available.


Sentencing for fraud, bribery and money laundering offences – consultation launched

27 June 2013

The Sentencing Council has launched a consultation on proposals for updating guidance for judges and magistrates when sentencing fraud, bribery and money laundering offences.

Find out how to respond to the consultation.

Read the press release.


New judicial member appointed to the Council

23 April 2013

Mr Justice (John) Saunders has been appointed to the Council by the Lord Chief Justice with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor.

He replaces Lord Justice Treacy following his elevation to the Court of Appeal and has been appointed for three years.

Mr Justice Saunders was called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn) in 1972, and was appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in 1991. He was appointed as a Recorder in 1990, and became a Senior Circuit Judge and the Recorder of Birmingham in 2004. In 2007 he was appointed as a High Court Judge in the Queen’s Bench Division. He was Presiding Judge on the South Eastern Circuit from 2009 – 2012.

 


New non-judicial appointments to the Council announced

08 April 2013

Following the announcement of a new judicial member to the Council last week, two new non-judicial members have now been appointed to the Sentencing Council by the Lord Chancellor as a number of existing members reach the end of their three year tenure.

They are:

  • Javed Khan, Chief Executive of Victim Support; and
  • Michael Caplan, QC.

Lynne Owens, Chief Constable of Surrey Police, Julian Roberts, Professor of Criminology, and John Crawforth, OBE have been reappointed.


New judicial member appointed to the Council

04 April 2013

A new judicial member has been appointed to the Sentencing Council by the Lord Chief Justice, with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor.

Her Honour Judge Sarah Munro QC will be a representative from the Crown Court on the Council from 6 April 2013.

More information about Council members can be found here.

 


New contact details

27 March 2013

The Office of the Sentencing Council is now based at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Our new contact details can be found here.


Sentencing for environmental offences – consultation launched

14 March 2013

The Sentencing Council has launched a consultation on proposals for updating guidance for judges and magistrates when sentencing environmental offences.

Find out how to respond to the consultation.

Read the press release.

Read the summary announcement.


Sentencing Competition, 2013

13 March 2013

On 13 March 2013, the Sentencing Council held the final rounds of its second sentencing competition.

The aim of the competition was to raise awareness of the work of the Sentencing Council among aspiring law professionals, and to provide them with an opportunity to take part in the thinking behind the process. The competition was open to BPTC and LPC students and began with a written round and from more than 100 responses received, six students were chosen to go forward to the semi-final.

More information can be found here.

 


Strong interest in Sentencing Competition

15 January 2013

The deadline for expressions of interest from LPC and BPTC students for the Sentencing Council’s second Sentencing Competition has now passed.  We are very pleased to have received over 200 entries and the entrants will receive the first (written) round this week.

The final rounds will be held at The Royal Courts of Justice in London in March 2013 and will be presided over by Lord Justice Treacy, a member of the Sentencing Council.


Mooting competition for law students

14 December 2012

The Sentencing Council is inviting current LPC and BPTC students to take part in its second mooting competition.  The competition aims to promote awareness of sentencing, the use of the sentencing guidelines, and the work of the Sentencing Council among law students.

Two winners will get mini pupillages at 25 Bedford Row Chambers and 2 Bedford Row Chambers.

The competition will consist of an initial written round, from which six entrants will be selected to go forward to semi final.  Both the semi and final rounds will be held on 13 March 2013 at the Royal Courts of Justice in London and will be presided over by Lord Justice Treacy, a member of the Sentencing Council.

Anyone interested should email us with their name, course, university/law school and email address by 14 January 2013. They will then be sent a case study to submit a plea in mitigation for the written round.


Sentencing for sexual offences – consultation launched

06 December 2012

The Sentencing Council has launched a consultation on proposals for updating guidance for judges and magistrates when sentencing sexual offences.

Find out how to respond to the consultation.

Read the press release.

An overview by The Right Honourable Lord Justice Treacy (video)


Sentencing Council wins Guardian award

21 November 2012

The Sentencing Council has won a Guardian Public Services award for work on its drug offences guideline. The award, for evidence-based policy making, was given last night for the research and analysis that went into the development of the guideline.

This included interviews with drug mules currently in prison, focus groups with the public and the development of an analytical tool to map current levels and types of sentence being given for drug offences. This was then followed by a 12-week public consultation period during which there were nearly 700 responses from criminal justice professionals and the public.
The consultation led to various modifications to the guideline before the definitive version was published in February this year, accompanied by an in-depth resource assessment indicating the cost implications for criminal justice agencies and the effect on overall sentence lengths.

Michelle Crotty, Head of the Office of the Council, said: “We’re delighted to have won this award. Our guideline was developed over 18 months of exhaustive research, road-testing and feedback, not only with criminal justice professionals, but with the public and even some offenders. It will promote a clear, fair and consistent approach to sentencing and we will continue to monitor the effect of the guideline through our ongoing research on Crown Court sentencing."

The guideline brings sentencing guidance together for the first time to help ensure consistent and proportionate sentencing and provide effective guidance for sentencers and clear information for victims, witnesses and the public on how drug offenders are sentenced.

The Observer’s Andrew Rawnsley, presenting the award, said this of the work: “The combination of methods employed, from analytical tools to staff efforts, and the overall complexity of their approach, is deeply impressive. It is thorough, unique and highly innovative.”

The guideline can be downloaded here.


New non-judicial Council member announced

20 November 2012

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice has announced the appointment of Chief Constable Lynne Owens as a non-judicial member of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales.

Lynne Owens takes her place on Council with immediate effect, replacing Tim Godwin. Her appointment, which is interim, runs until April 2013.

Since February 2012, Lynne has been Chief Constable of Surrey Police, with overall accountability for performance, and responsibility for the Force's direction and leadership, stakeholder relations and political engagement.

 


New film for victims and witnesses

10 October 2012

The Sentencing Council has launched a short animated film for victims and witnesses of crime explaining how sentencing works and the types of sentence offenders can get.
As well as being available to view online, it will also be used by Victim Support’s Witness Service volunteers at courts when they are helping victims and witnesses.

The film can be viewed on the About Sentencing page.

 


Update to Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines

01 October 2012

Update 9 to the Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines (the update on the Victim Surcharge) is available on the Guidelines to download page, under Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines. A revised version of the Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines is also available here.

Hard copies of Update 9 are being printed now and will be distributed from the end of this month.


Dangerous dog offences guideline comes into effect

20 August 2012

Following a three month period of training and implementation the definitive guideline on dangerous dog offences came into effect on 20 August 2012.

Versions for the Crown Court and magistrates' courts are available.


Sentencing Council publishes 2nd annual report

10 July 2012

The Sentencing Council has published its second annual report.

The report outlines activities from April 2011 to March 2012. It includes details of the Council’s work on consulting on and developing several guidelines including drugs, burglary, an overarching guideline on three aspects of sentencing practice and dangerous dogs, the monitoring of the operation and effect of guidelines with the Crown Court Sentencing Survey and improving communication around sentencing.

A copy of the report is available.


Allocation, offences taken into consideration and totality definitive guideline comes into effect

11 June 2012

The Sentencing Council's definitive guideline on allocation, offences taken into consideration and totality came into effect on 11 June 2012.

As with its other guidelines, the Council recognises the need to ensure a consistency of approach across all the courts which will be using these guidelines, whilst being careful not to include material which would rarely or never be used in one or other jurisdiction. For this reason, the Crown Court version of the guideline does not include the allocation guideline and the version of the totality guideline for inclusion in the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines (MCSG) does not include the specific application sections on extended sentences for public protection or indeterminate sentences, as magistrates cannot pass these sentences. There are also revisions to the Explanatory material in Part 5 of the MCSG to take account of the introduction of the new overarching guidelines.


Sentencing Council launches new definitive guideline for dangerous dog offences

15 May 2012

Today, the Sentencing Council is publishing a new guideline for judges and magistrates on the sentencing of dangerous dog offences.

The new guideline, which has been issued following a 12-week public consultation, will come into effect on 20 August 2012.

The Council has also published a response to the consultation which summarises some of the very useful feedback and comments we received.

Dangerous dog offences definitive guideline.

Below is a short video clip in which Tim Godwin, member of the Sentencing Council, outlines the announcement.


Sentencing Council publishes guidelines on allocation, offences taken into consideration and totality

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Today, the Sentencing Council is publishing definitive guidelines on three overarching aspects of sentencing: allocation, offences taken into consideration and totality.

The guidelines, which have been issued following a 12 week public consultation, will come into effect on 11 June 2012.

The Council has also published a response to the consultation which summarises some of the very useful feedback and comments we received.

It should be noted that the corresponding Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines (MCSG) update contains revised relevant weekly income figures which have immediate effect.


Sentencing guideline for drug offences comes into force

Monday, 27 February 2012

The new definitive guideline on drug offences will be used in all courts in England and Wales from 27 February 2012.

The Sentencing Council’s guideline brings sentencing guidance together for the first time to help ensure consistent and proportionate sentencing and provide effective guidance for sentencers and clear information for victims, witnesses and the public on how drug offenders are sentenced. Versions for the Crown Court and magistrates' courts are available.

The Sentencing Council has also produced several sentencing scenarios to familiarise sentencers with the guideline's approach and process.


Sentencing Council launches new definitive guideline for drug offences

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Today, the Sentencing Council is publishing a new guideline for judges and magistrates on the sentencing of drug offences.

The new guideline, which has been issued following a 12-week public consultation, will come into effect on 27 February 2012.  Although primarily aimed at criminal justice professionals, the guideline is specifically designed to be accessible and clear to the public.

The Council has also published a response to the consultation which summarises some of the very useful feedback and comments we received.


Burglary offences guideline comes into effect

Monday, 16 January 2012

Following a three month period of training and implementation the definitive guideline on burglary offences came into effect on 16 January 2012.

Versions for the Crown Court and magistrates' courts are available.


Sentencing for dangerous dog offences – consultation launched on sentencing guidelines

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Sentencing Council has launched a 12-week consultation on its proposed guidelines for judges and magistrates to use when sentencing people for dangerous dog offences.

Find out more about the consultation exercise.

Read the press release.


Crown Court Sentencing Survey – first results published

Tuesday, 18 October 2011 

The Sentencing Council has published a report with results from the Crown Court Sentencing Survey, an ongoing data collection exercise of sentencing decisions made in the Crown Court that is required for the Council to comply with the terms of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

The report presents the findings of the first six months of the survey.


Sentencing Council publishes annual report

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Sentencing Council has published its first annual report since it came into being in April 2010.

The report outlines activities from April 2010 to March 2011, focussing particularly on consulting on and developing guidelines around assault and drug offences, the launch of the Crown Court Sentencing Survey and work to improve public understanding in sentencing. A copy of the report is available.


Resource impact of the Government's proposals on Suspended Sentence Orders published

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

At the request of the Lord Chancellor, the Sentencing Council has considered the resource effects of proposed changes to Suspended Sentence Orders (SSOs) contained in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill.

This work has involved analysis of existing sentencing data, as well as qualitative interviews with Crown Court judges who currently use SSOs and will be affected by any changes introduced. The report is available.


Sentencing Council launches new definitive guideline for burglary offences

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Today, the Sentencing Council is publishing a new guideline for judges and magistrates. It aims to ensure a consistent and proportionate approach to sentencing, with convicted offenders receiving a sentence that reflects both the harm they have caused to their victim and their culpability.

The new guideline, which has been issued following a 12-week public consultation, will come into effect on 16 January 2012. Although primarily aimed at criminal justice professionals, the guideline is specifically designed to be accessible and clear both to victims and to the public.

The Council has also published a response to the consultation which summarises some of the very useful feedback and comments we received.


Statement following Council discussion on sentencing for offences committed during the August riots

Friday 16 September 2011

Guidance to judges and magistrates on appropriate sentencing levels come from definitive guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council and from guideline judgments from the Court of Appeal.

The Council has discussed the impact of the summer’s riots on guidelines at its September meeting today and is aware that the Court of Appeal will be considering cases relating to the August disturbances very shortly. It has decided that it is not necessary to issue further guidelines at this time. Neither will it comment on specific appeals.

Guidelines are deliberately designed to be flexible, setting out sentencing ranges for each offence, which allows for the reflection of the wide range of circumstances in which they are committed. They set out a step by step approach which judges must follow to ensure a consistent approach to sentencing. The guideline approach allows sentencers to sentence at the top of these ranges - above the levels expected for the vast majority of cases - or depart from them altogether if it is in the interests of justice to do so, as long as reasons are given.

Since April, the Council has been consulting on proposed definitive guidelines for offences of burglary, including non-domestic burglary. In light of this consultation these guidelines were also discussed and it was agreed to include, within factors indicating greater harm in relation to non-domestic burglary, the context of general public disorder. This is intended to be seen in relation to all public disorder and is not specifically designed to address recent events.

The Sentencing Council issues definitive sentencing guidelines following extensive discussion and consultation with justice professionals and the public. Sentencing guidelines play an essential role in ensuring a consistent approach to sentencing in courts across England and Wales.


Consultation launched on draft guidelines on three overarching aspects of sentencing

Thursday 15 September 2011

The Sentencing Council is seeking views on its proposed sentencing guidelines on Allocation, Offences Taken into Consideration and Allocation, with a consultation launched today. The draft guidelines aim to ensure that the principles in each of these areas of sentencing practice are applied consistently throughout courts in England and Wales.

Read the full press release.

Find out more about the consultation exercise.


Web survey

Wednesday 7 September 2011

The Sentencing Council is currently conducting a short web survey to find out a bit more about our users and ways to improve the website.

We value your feedback, and would appreciate if you took a few moments to answer some short questions. All responses are anonymous.


Liverpool event increases sentencing understanding

Friday 29 July 2011

The Sentencing Council’s first public event to increase understanding about sentencing was held last night in Liverpool, with more than 80 people from Merseyside in attendance.

It took place alongside a week of coverage about sentencing in the Liverpool Echo, with the paper working with the Sentencing Council to highlight the kinds of burglars that come before the courts and how judges and magistrates go about sentencing them.

The event was hosted by BBC Merseyside presenter Roger Phillips, with local members of the judiciary – Judge Henry Globe, Judge David Fletcher and magistrate Eunice Wise – explaining how the sentencing process works and asking for views on how burglars should be sentenced as part of the Sentencing Council’s public consultation on its proposed guidelines for judges on burglary offences.

It was also an opportunity for members of the public to pass sentence in some fictional scenarios of some of the types of burglary that come before the courts. Three burglary sentencing scenarios were presented, with attendees then asked to choose which sentence from four options they would give the burglar in each case to see how their verdicts compared with those of a real judge. The results showed that in two of the three scenarios, the most popular option was the same as the sentence a judge or magistrate would have passed. Interestingly in   the third scenario, the option chosen by the highest number of people was a more lenient sentence than a judge would pass.

Attendees were also asked more generally about the effect the event had on their understanding of sentencing. 83 per cent felt that their understanding of the sentencing process had increased as a result of coming to the event, and 88 per cent felt more informed about the sentences given to people convicted of burglary offences.


Give your verdict on sentencing

Thursday 14 July 2011

The Sentencing Council is holding a public event in Liverpool to explain sentencing and give people the chance to hear the kind of cases judges frequently deal with, pass sentences themselves, and then find out how their verdict compares with a judge’s. The event on 28 July is open to all members of the public and is being supported by the Liverpool Echo. It will explain the basics of sentencing, how the sentencing process works, and ask for views on how burglars should be sentenced as part of the Sentencing Council’s public consultation on its proposed guidelines for judges on burglary offences.

There will be an opportunity to listen to some sentencing scenarios and pass sentence and to pose some questions to our panel of criminal justice professionals who will be chaired by local judge and Sentencing Council member Henry Globe.

Date: Thursday 28 July, 7-9pm (with refreshments from 6.30pm)
Venue: Liverpool Town Hall, High Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L2 3SW

Spaces for the event are limited so if you are interested in attending the event please email us.


Assault guidelines come into effect

Monday 13 June 2011

Following a three months period of training and implementation the definitive guideline on assault came into effect on 13 June 2011.  It aims to ensure a consistent and proportionate approach to sentencing, with convicted offenders receiving a sentence that reflects both the harm they have caused to their victim and their culpability.

Versions for the Crown Court and magistrates' courts are available.


Sentencing for drug offences - reminder to contribute to consultation

Thursday 26 May 2011

The consultation on the Sentencing Council’s draft guideline on drug offences will close on 20 June and with this date approaching, the Council is keen to encourage legal professionals with experience or an interest in the subject to contribute their views.

The new guideline applies to both the Crown and magistrates’ courts with the aim of encouraging a consistency in approach to sentencing drugs offenders. It covers the most commonly sentenced drug offences including importation, production, supply, permitting premises to be used for drugs offences and possession. It will mean sentences will be based on the court’s assessment of the harm caused and the culpability of the offender as demonstrated by the offender’s role in the offence and the quantity of drugs involved or scale of the operation.

Despite some newspaper reports to the contrary, the Sentencing Council is not planning to change sentencing in relation to supply offences, other than in two specific areas. The draft guideline does not propose any reduction in the high sentences currently given to drug dealers - where an offender involved with class A drugs profits, whether financially or otherwise, prison is the only option the draft guidelines allow. It also reflects current sentencing practice in relation to “social supply” offences where individuals procure drugs for themselves and friends at no profit or benefit to themselves.

The proposed changes relate to sentencing for some importation and production offences. The Council is proposing that sentences for drug mules, who may be coerced or misled into carrying drugs, are reduced, although sentences remain custodial for all but the most minor importation offences. Drug barons playing a leading role in large scale smuggling will continue to face long prison sentences. The Council is also proposing to adapt sentences for those involved in the cultivation of cannabis to reflect the changes taking place in the way the offence is committed and to ensure that the toughest sentences are available for those responsible for running such operations.

Submissions to the consultation can be made by email or post. All consultation documents, along with a resource assessment and equality impact report and research report are available.


Sentencing for burglary offences: consultation launched on changes to judges’ guidelines

Thursday 12 May 2011

The Sentencing Council has published a public consultation on its proposals to introduce a new guideline for the sentencing of burglary offences. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will close on 4 August 2011. The proposals will bring burglary offences into a single guideline for Crown and magistrates’ courts in order to increase the consistency of sentencing across both courts. The draft guideline reinforces current sentencing practice and places a renewed emphasis on the impact of burglaries on victims, ensuring that they are of primary concern in the sentencing process.

Find out more about the consultation exercise.

Read the press release.

The initial reaction from organisations representing victims has been positive - find out what the Victims' Commissioner thinks.


More Effective Responses to Anti-Social Behaviour - The Sentencing Council's response to the Government's consultation

Wednesday 4 May 2011

The Sentencing Council has responded to the Home Office's consultation on anti-social behaviour. The Council's response comprises its views on those topics within the consultation that relate to sentencing.


Sentencing for drug offences: consultation launched on changes to judges’ guidelines

Monday 28 March 2011

The Sentencing Council launched a 12 week consultation proposing changes to the guidelines that judges and magistrates use to sentence people for drug offences.

Find out more about the consultation exercise.

Read the press release.


Sentencing Council launches new definitive guideline for assault offences.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Today, the Sentencing Council is publishing a new guideline for judges and magistrates. It aims to ensure a consistent and proportionate approach to sentencing, with convicted offenders receiving a sentence that reflects both the harm they have caused to their victim and their culpability.

The new guideline, which has been issued following a 12-week public consultation, will come into effect on 13 June.  Although primarily aimed at criminal justice professionals, the guideline is specifically designed to be accessible and clear both to victims and to the public.

The Council has also published a response to the consultation which summarises some of the very useful feedback and comments we received.


Breaking the Cycle consultation - The Sentencing Council's response to the Government's green paper

Tuesday 1 March 2011

The Sentencing Council has responded to the Ministry of Justice's consultation on the reform of the criminal justice system. The Council's response comprises its views on those questions and topics within the green paper that relate to sentencing.


Strong interest in Sentencing Competition

Wednesday 2 February 2011

The deadline for expressions of interest from LPC and BPTC students in the Sentencing Council’s Sentencing Competition has now passed.  We were very pleased to receive over 200 entries. Look out for future updates as the competition progresses, culminating in the final rounds at The Old Bailey in March 2011 and presided over by our Chairman, Lord Justice Leveson.


Sentencing Competition launched

Friday 14 January 2011

The Sentencing Council's first Sentencing Competition has now been launched.

An initial written round will take place in February, and the six highest scoring students will then compete in the semi final and final rounds to be held at The Old Bailey in March 2011 and presided over by Lord Justice Leveson. The top prize will be a choice of either a mini pupillage at criminal chambers QEB Hollis Whiteman or a work experience placement at solicitors' offices Lewis Nedas & Co.

All current BPTC and LPC students are invited to take part and email their expressions of interest (stating name, course and university/law school address) by Tuesday 1 February 2011. Further information, and the initial written case to be completed will then be sent out to interested students.


Case Update

Tuesday 30 November 2010

A first edition of the bi-monthly Case Update, aimed at legal professionals, is now available. This is an update of Court of Appeal cases for offences where there are no existing guidelines or where the case relates to general sentencing principles.


Justice Select Committee calls for views on draft guideline

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Parliament’s Justice Select Committee is calling for contributions to the Sentencing Council’s consultation on its draft guideline on assault. They have set out a range of questions on which they wish to gather evidence, such as the proposed structure, the balance between harm and culpability and the impact on victims and the reduction of reoffending.

Chairman of the Sentencing Council, Lord Justice Leveson, said: “I am delighted that the Justice Select Committee has been prepared to take time to obtain evidence and consider our proposed Guideline and I look forward to seeing their contribution to our work.”


Sentencing for assault: consultation launched on changes to judges’ guidelines

Wednesday 13 October 2010

The Sentencing Council launched a 12 week consultation proposing changes to the guidelines that judges and magistrates use to sentence people for offences of assault.

Find out more about the consultation exercise.

Read the press release.


Sentencing Council launches courts survey

Friday 01 October 2010

The Sentencing Council has launched the first survey of its kind to analyse the use of sentencing guidelines in Crown Courts.

Find out more about the survey.


Today examines future changes in criminal justice system

Wednesday 22 September 2010

The Today programme on Radio 4 is running a series of debates on the criminal justice system this week starting on Wednesday 22 September - topics covered include sentencing.

Read more about Roger Graef's 'search for justice' series on Radio 4.


Sentencing Council to launch courts survey

Thursday 16 September 2010

On 1 October, the Sentencing Council will be launching the first survey of its kind to analyse the use of sentencing guidelines in Crown Courts. One of the Council’s statutory duties is to monitor the operation and effect of sentencing guidelines, and the survey will be taking place in all Crown Courts in England and Wales. The survey’s findings will also help the Council assess what costs and resources will be required by proposed sentencing guidelines.


Lord Justice Leveson discusses the work of the Sentencing Council on Law in Action

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Lord Justice Leveson spoke to Joshua Rozenberg on the BBC’s Law in Action programme in his first broadcast interview as Chairman of the Sentencing Council. 
The discussion covered issues including the role of the Council and the importance of ensuring consistency in sentencing.

Listen to the interview.


Judges told that justice is safe from ‘tramline’ sentencing

Thursday 3 June 2010

In an interview with The Times, Lord Justice Leveson has reassured judges that their independence and freedom to tailor sentences to particular cases is not threatened by the new requirement that judges must follow sentencing guidelines.

Read the full article on The Times' website (registration required).