Proposed amendments to the Allocation guideline

Closed 31 Jul 2015

Opened 19 Jun 2015


The Sentencing Council is seeking feedback from sentencers, justices’ clerks, legal advisers, prosecutors, defence representatives and other court users on proposals to update the definitive Allocation guideline.  

The consultation runs for six weeks. This is a shorter period than is customary for Sentencing Council consultations. The reasons for this are:

  • the consultation relates to a concise, technical guideline likely to be of interest only to those directly concerned with criminal proceedings  
  • key stakeholders have already been consulted on the issue of allocation as part of Sir Brian Leveson’s Review of Efficiency in Criminal Proceedings  
  • we want to deliver improvements as soon as possible.

We will treat all responses as public documents in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and we may attribute comments and include a list of all respondents’ names in any final report we publish.  If you wish to submit a confidential response, you should contact us before sending the response.  

PLEASE NOTE – We will disregard automatic confidentiality statements generated by an IT system.

The Sentencing Council issued the definitive Allocation Guideline on 11 June 2012; it forms part of the Magistrates’ Courts Sentencing Guidelines (MCSG).  The guideline should be used by magistrates’ courts to determine whether cases should be dealt with in the magistrates’ court or in the Crown Court.

Additional guidance is provided in the Criminal Practice Direction 9A Preliminary Proceedings: Allocation. The Justices’ Clerks Society and the Senior District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) have recently issued joint interim guidance in response to the recommendations in Sir Brian Leveson’s Review of Efficiency in Criminal Proceedings.

The Sentencing Council is proposing to amend the Allocation guideline to bring it up-to-date, to improve clarity and to include all the guidance in one document.  The proposals are explained in detail in the following pages.

You may find it helpful to have a copy of the draft guideline open as you work through this document. Right click on the documents below to open in a new window.

The Sentencing Council will review the responses to the questions and will use these to produce an amended definitive Allocation guideline.  


  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Police
  • Prosecutors
  • Court & Tribunal staff
  • Legal professional bodies


  • Courts
  • Criminal justice
  • Legal aid