Lord Justice Leveson appointed as Chairman of the Sentencing Council

The Lord Chief Justice, with the agreement of the Lord Chancellor, has offered the appointment as Chairman of the Sentencing Council to Lord Justice Leveson, currently the Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales.

Lord Justice Leveson has accepted this position and will act as chair designate during the period before the commencement of the relevant statutory provisions of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. The formal establishment of the Council is expected to be in March or April 2010. Lord Justice Leveson will work with the Ministry of Justice during this time to oversee arrangements for the creation of the new Council, including the appointment of judicial and non-judicial Members.

The Sentencing Council will develop sentencing guidelines, monitor their use and play a key role in influencing a wide range of decisions relating to sentencing. The Council will also be required to assess the impact of sentencing practice and promote awareness of sentencing matters; it may also be required to consider the impact of policy and legislative proposals relating to sentencing.

Lord Justice Leveson said:

“The new Sentencing Council will have a wider remit than its predecessors. We will not only be producing guidelines for the courts to follow when sentencing offenders, but will also consider the effectiveness and impact of sentencing in England and Wales, which may in turn inform policy makers and legislators.

“I am also keen to look at ways in which the Council can help to inform the public about the practice of sentencing in our courts. I am aware from personal experience that giving people the opportunity to explore and understand the way in which judges approach sentencing can significantly increase their confidence in the criminal justice system.

‚ÄúSentencing is a complex and often emotive subject and the new Council will have much work to do given its wide remit. As a Judge, however, I am very keen to ensure that sentencing policy is well-informed and that although the process is approached consistently throughout the country, we protect the principle that every single case is determined independently and on its individual merits.”