Simplifying sentencing procedure

Current sentencing procedure is overwhelmingly complex and difficult to apply even for experienced practitioners and judges. It is contained in numerous separate provisions across a multitude of statutes with no coherent structure to aid navigation.

On 7 October 2016 we published an interim report which summarises the responses we received to a consultation document on the current law that we published last year, sets out the corrections to the document that we have made in light of the responses, and provides an update on how the Sentencing Code project is progressing.

In October 2015 we published our compilation of the primary legislation on sentencing. The document stood at over 1300 pages long and contained provisions from Acts as varied as the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 and the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The document was intended to aid in the drafting of the Sentencing Code, which is part of the Law Commission’s 12th programme of law reform. We sought consultees’ views as to whether the document was comprehensive, whether there were any errors and whether it was over-inclusive.

The drafting of the Code itself is already well under way. The current law document and the responses of consultees have been invaluable in this regard. We are especially grateful to the Crown Prosecution Service, who provided the current law document to Crown Advocates for use when preparing sentences for hearing as well as undertaking a detailed review of the work for errors and omissions, and the Bar Council, whose members provided particularly detailed notes on a significant number of parts of the document.