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Streamlined sentencing code proposed

In July 2017, the Law Commission published a draft Sentencing Code for public consultation.  The consultation period ended on 26 January 2018 and the findings are currently awaited.

The main criticisms, and in turn the driving factors for the new Code, are that the current laws lack ‘coherence and clarity’.  The Law Commission state that sentencing laws spread among a vast array of statutes and statutory instruments which are often updated or subject to transitional arrangements.  The result of this is that it can be difficult to identify the correct sentencing provisions in specific cases meaning, at the very least, an undue amount of time reaching the correct conclusion.  The Law Commission go further to draw links between the increasing number of unlawful sentences and the complexity of the current sentencing procedures.

The Law Commission’s Code aims to be a one-stop-shop for sentencing in England and Wales.  If the project comes to fruition, those in support hope that it will simplify the law in this area and therefore save practitioners time and the public purse from unnecessary appeals.  The code, importantly, would not alter current sentence lengths, judicial discretion, nor would it replace any guidelines published by the Sentencing Council.


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.