Experts endorse our ‘clean sweep’ approach to sentencing reform

All cases where a conviction occurs after the introduction of our proposed new Sentencing Code would be sentenced under the new Code, no matter when the offence was committed.

That is the “clean sweep” approach we are proposing in a report published today. The report, A New Sentencing Code for England and Wales: Transition, includes a summary of the responses to our 2015 consultation – which were unanimously in favour of our proposed approach – and other recommendations we are making in light of those responses.

Our central consultation proposal – that all cases in which conviction occurred after the new Sentencing Code is introduced should be sentenced under it, irrespective of when the offence was committed – is supported by a number of qualifications made in the interests of fairness and to protect the rights of the offender. These are shaped by the principle that no one should be given a more severe punishment, taken as a whole, than would have been available at the time they committed an offence.

Professor David Ormerod QC, Law Commissioner for criminal law, said:

“Our aim is to introduce the new Sentencing Code in the most effective way possible while respecting the fundamental rights of all those affected by the sentencing process. Our “clean sweep” approach to transition to the new Code will minimise the need for the complex transitional arrangements that have plagued the law in the past, and led to confusion and inefficiency.

“Our proposed approach has received unanimous support from stakeholders across the spectrum of criminal justice professionals, judges and Government officials and we strongly recommend to Government that this approach to the introduction of the new Sentencing Code be taken.”