Miscellaneous amendments to sentencing guidelines 2022

Closes 30 Nov 2022

Opened 7 Sep 2022

Overview

What is this consultation about?

The Sentencing Council has built up a large body of sentencing guidelines and accompanying materials that are in use in courts throughout England and Wales. Over time guidelines require updating because users have pointed out issues (often using the feedback function on all guidelines) or case law or new legislation may render aspects of guidelines out of date. The Council therefore holds an annual consultation on miscellaneous amendments to guidelines and the explanatory materials that accompany them. This is the second of these annual consultations in which the Council seeks the views of guideline users to proposals to make amendments to existing guidelines.

The proposed changes relate to magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court.

What is the Sentencing Council?

The Sentencing Council is the independent body responsible for developing sentencing guidelines which courts in England and Wales must follow when passing a sentence. The Council consults on its proposed guidelines before they come into force and on any proposed changes to existing guidelines.

Which offences and guidelines are covered by the proposed changes?

  1. Matters relevant primarily to magistrates’ courts:
  • Clarifying the wording relating to disqualification from driving in the following: 
    • Drug driving guidance
    • Excess alcohol guideline
    • Unfit through drink or drugs (drive/ attempt to drive) guideline
    • Fail to provide specimen for analysis (drive/attempt to drive) guideline  
  • Amending the wording in the explanatory materials on:
    • Discretionary disqualification
    • ‘Totting up’ disqualification
    • Obligatory disqualification
    • Football banning orders
  1. Matters relevant to magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court
  • Amending the guidelines for criminal damage to take account of the legislative change relating to memorials.
  • Amending the wording regarding minimum sentences in the following guidelines:
    • Bladed articles and offensive weapons – possession
    • Bladed articles and offensive weapons – threats
    • Bladed articles and offensive weapons (possession and threats) – children and young people
    • Supplying or offering to supply a controlled drug/ Possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply it to another
    • Fraudulent evasion of a prohibition by bringing into or taking out of the UK a controlled drug
    • Domestic burglary
    • Aggravated burglary (Crown Court only)
  1. Matters relevant solely to the Crown Court
  • Adding wording to the Unlawful act manslaughter guideline relating to the required life sentence for an offence committed against an emergency worker

Other changes

In addition to the changes consulted on in this document, the Council has made a number of changes to guidelines that it considered did not need to be consulted on as they merely gave effect to changes to legislation in a manner that is uncontroversial.

The Council has also made minor changes to guidelines or the explanatory materials which, while not requiring consultation, it was felt should be drawn to the attention of those responding to this consultation.

A list of these changes is provided in an Annex (see document below or at the end of the consultation).

Additional information and response paper

Following the conclusion of this consultation exercise, a response will be published at: www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk

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.

In addition, responses may be shared with the Justice Committee of the House of Commons.

Our privacy notice sets out the standards that you can expect from the Sentencing Council when we request or hold personal information (personal data) about you; how you can get access to a copy of your personal data; and what you can do if you think the standards are not being met.

Respond to consultation

Audiences

  • Voluntary organisations
  • Government departments
  • Legal professionals
  • Judiciary
  • Police
  • Prosecutors
  • Offenders
  • Victims
  • Court & Tribunal staff
  • Legal professional bodies
  • Academics
  • UK politicians

Interests

  • Criminal justice