The Sentencing Council is asking judges, magistrates and other practitioners who use sentencing guidelines for their views on a series of proposed changes (external link) to existing guidelines.
The proposed changes are designed to bring greater clarity and consistency and reflect developments in legislation. The Council considers the changes to be significant enough to warrant consultation but not so substantial that they require new guidelines to be drafted.
The proposed changes apply to sentencing guidelines in use in both the magistrates’ courts and the Crown Court and include:
- clarification of wording relating to disqualification in magistrates’ court motoring offences guidelines and related explanatory materials;
- changes to the guidelines for criminal damage to take account of the legislative change relating to memorials;
- amendments to the wording regarding minimum sentences in bladed article, drug and burglary offences guidelines; and
- additional wording for the unlawful act manslaughter guideline relating to the required life sentence for an offence committed against an emergency worker.
This consultation (external link), which closes on 30 November, is the second annual consultation to consider potential changes to guidelines arising from various sources including case law, changes to legislation and feedback from sentencers. The Council encourages sentencers and other practitioners to use the feedback function in the sentencing guidelines to tell them about any issues with guidelines to do with the law or their experience of using and applying the guidelines.