Appointments announced to Sentencing Council

The Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, and Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, today announced the appointment of the new members of the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, the independent body being set up to support greater consistency in sentencing.

The Council will be established on 6 April, streamlining the development of guidelines previously undertaken by the Sentencing Guidelines Council and the Sentencing Advisory Panel.

The Council will be chaired by Lord Justice Leveson. The seven other judicial members of the Sentencing Council are:

  • The Right Honourable Lord Justice Hughes – Deputy Chairman
  • The Honourable Mrs Justice Rafferty, DBE
  • The Honourable Mr Justice Treacy
  • His Honour Judge McCreath QC
  • His Honour Judge Globe QC
  • District Judge (Magistrates’ Court) Anne Arnold
  • Katharine Rainsford JP

The six non-judicial members of the Sentencing Council are:

  • John Crawforth OBE, Chief Executive of Greater Manchester Probation Trust
  • Siobhain Egan, consultant solicitor
  • Tim Godwin OBE QPM, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
  • Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Victim Support
  • Julian Roberts, Professor of Criminology at the University of Oxford
  • Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions

Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary Jack Straw said:

“It is fundamental to our criminal justice system that decisions on sentencing in individual court cases must be a matter for the independent judiciary. The Sentencing Council will ensure greater consistency by enabling the Courts to approach sentencing in similar cases from a common starting point, and will make the process clearer to the public.

“This important work is in the best interests of justice and the public. I welcome the concentration of expertise that the members of the Council will bring to this from their distinguished backgrounds, both in the judiciary and in other essential criminal justice disciplines.”

The Lord Chief Justice said:

“The Sentencing Council will contribute to consistency of approach to sentencing throughout England and Wales, as well as to the improved public awareness of and confidence in sentencing practice.

“I am grateful to the members of the Sentencing Council for accepting this responsibility.”

Lord Justice Leveson, Chairman of the new Sentencing Council, said:

“I am delighted that the Sentencing Council has attracted members with such a wide range of experience and expertise from across the criminal justice system.  I am confident that the appointments made today will enable us to deliver the significant remit of the Sentencing Council.

“As a Council, we are keen to focus not only on developing and monitoring the effect and impact of sentencing guidelines, but also on raising public awareness of the practice and realities of sentencing.  I have no doubt that this can help to increase public confidence in the criminal justice system.”

Courts will be required to follow the Council’s guidelines unless it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so. In these cases the Court will be required to explain its reasoning.

In developing and reviewing its guidelines the Council will have regard to:

  • current sentencing practice,
  • the need to promote consistency in sentencing,
  • the impact of sentencing decisions on victims,
  • the need to promote public confidence in the criminal justice system,
  • the cost of different sentences, and their relative effectiveness in preventing re-offending,
  • its monitoring of the effect of its guidelines.

The Council will also publish information on sentencing practice in each local justice area and Crown Court.

Other responsibilities will include assessing the impact of sentencing and other factors on the resources needed for the provision of prison, probation and youth justice services. When requested, the Council will assess the impact of policy and legislation proposals.

The Council will make an annual report to the Lord Chancellor.