Social research

The Sentencing Council regularly undertakes social research projects designed to inform the development of sentencing guidelines. This work involves collecting views from a number of different audiences: the general public, victims, and practitioners including Crown Court judges, district judges, and magistrates. The Sentencing Council’s social researchers adopt a variety of methodologies including: content analysis of transcripts of judges’ sentencing remarks; questionnaire-based surveys; face-to-face interviews and focus groups.

Research findings are pivotal in helping to develop sentencing guidelines and identifying the potential behavioural consequences of introducing new guidelines. Findings are fed into all stages of guideline development, from early scoping work to the final production of definitive guidelines.

Get involved

We are always looking for volunteers from the magistracy and judiciary to participate in our research. If you would like to get involved please email