Sentencing Council
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A busy and productive year is highlighted in the fourth joint annual report published today by the Sentencing Guidelines Council and the Sentencing Advisory Panel.

The two independent bodies responsible for promoting clear, effective and consistent sentencing are a long way towards achieving the goal of producing a guideline for the majority of offences that are regularly sentenced in the courts in England and Wales.

This milestone is expected to be reached by the summer of next year, the report reveals.

The Council is responsible for framing and revising sentencing guidelines and
guidelines on the allocation of criminal cases between magistrates’ courts and the
Crown Court. It relies extensively on the advice of the Panel, which is tendered after
widespread consultation and supplemented, where appropriate, by independent research..

During the year a great deal of work was focused on the most wide-ranging project undertaken by the two bodies – the review of the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines.

In the reporting period the Council has also issued definitive guidelines on the Sexual Offences Act 2003, Assaults and other offences of violence and separately Assaults on Children and Cruelty to a child and Failure to Surrender to Bail. A revised guideline has also been published on Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea. Consultation guidelines have been produced for offences of causing death by driving and theft and non domestic burglary.

The Panel has carried out consultations on sentencing for breach of anti-social behaviour orders, fraud offences and corporate manslaughter.

The report also highlights that the strong commitment of the Council and Panel to incorporating diversity issues into every aspect of their work. In particular, the Panel consults key stakeholders at an early stage to identify any factors that might result in sentences that impact unfairly on grounds of race, disability, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or age.

In his final foreword as Chairman, Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, who is to become the first President of the UK’s Supreme Court, anticipates “a challenging and uncertain time ahead for the two bodies” as the Government awaits the results of the Sentencing Commission working group.

“Whatever the future may hold for the Panel and Council, the contribution both have made to sentencing practice in the courts of England and Wales has been and will continue to be of great value,” he writes.

Notes to Editors:

For further information and for copies of the annual report please contact:

Sentencing Guidelines Secretariat,
8-10 Great George Street,
London SW1P 3AE
Tel: 020 7084 8130
Fax: 020 7084 8114

The Annual Report, details of consultation and definitive guidelines, and the advice and consultation papers of the Sentencing Advisory Panel can be found on the Sentencing Guidelines website:

The Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC) was set up in 2004 to frame guidelines to assist courts in England and Wales dealing with criminal cases. The Council is chaired by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, with seven other members from the judiciary and four members who between them bring experience of policing, criminal prosecution, criminal defence, and the interests of victims of crime. Judicial members are appointed by the Lord Chancellor: non-judicial members by the Home Secretary.

The Sentencing Advisory Panel is an independent advisory and consultative body which was established in 1999. The Panel offers advice on general sentencing principles, sentencing of specific offences as well as allocation (the choice of court venue – magistrates’ court or the Crown Court). Chaired by Professor Andrew Ashworth, the Panel has 15 members.

Details of current membership of the Council and Panel can be found

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