Miscellaneous amendments to sentencing guidelines

Closes 2 Dec 2021

Opened 9 Sep 2021

Overview

What is this consultation about?

The Sentencing Council has been in existence for over ten years and has built up a large body of sentencing guidelines that are in use in courts throughout England and Wales. There are inevitably issues that arise with existing guidelines over time and the Council has decided to hold an annual consultation on miscellaneous amendments to guidelines. This is the first 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?

The proposals can be summarised as follows:

  • Breach of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO): adding a note to this guideline to make clear that it is not open to the court to vary the SHPO or make a fresh order of its own motion for breach.
  • Compensation: in all relevant guidelines adding wording relating to giving reasons if compensation is not awarded.
  • Confiscation: providing fuller information on confiscation in all relevant guidelines.
  • Racially or religiously aggravated offences: making the uplift for racial/ religious aggravation a separate step in the criminal damage (under £5,000) and criminal damage (over £5,000); section 4, section 4A and section 5 Public Order Act offences; harassment/ stalking and harassment/ stalking (with fear of violence) guidelines.
  • Domestic Abuse overarching guideline: revising the definition of domestic abuse to align with the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and expanding it to include a wider range of relationships.

The proposals do not apply to guidelines for sentencing children and young people.

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