Guideline users should be aware that the Equal Treatment Bench Book covers important aspects of fair treatment and disparity of outcomes for different groups in the criminal justice system. It provides guidance which sentencers are encouraged to take into account wherever applicable, to ensure that there is fairness for all involved in court proceedings.
In accordance with section 120 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, the Sentencing Council issues this definitive guideline. It applies to all offenders aged 18 and older, who are sentenced on or after 1 October 2018 regardless of the date of the breach.
Section 59(1) of the Sentencing Code provides that:
“Every court – (a) must, in sentencing an offender, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the offender’s case, and (b) must, in exercising any other function relating to the sentencing of offenders, follow any sentencing guidelines which are relevant to the exercise of the function, unless the court is satisfied that it would be contrary to the interests of justice to do so.”
This guideline applies only to offenders aged 18 and older. General principles to be considered in the sentencing of children and young people are in the Sentencing Council definitive guideline, Sentencing children and young people - overarching principles.
Breach of post-sentence supervision
Where the court determines a penalty is appropriate for a breach of a post-sentence supervision requirement it must take into account the extent to which the offender has complied with all of the requirements of the post-sentence supervision or supervision default order when imposing a penalty.
In assessing the level of compliance with the order the court should consider:
- the offender’s overall attitude and engagement with the order as well as the proportion of elements completed;
- the impact of any completed or partially completed requirements on the offender’s behaviour;
- the proximity of the breach to the imposition of the order; and
- evidence of circumstances or offender characteristics, such as disability, mental health issues or learning difficulties which have impeded offender’s compliance with the order.
|Level of compliance||Penalty|
|Low||Up to 7 days’ committal to custody
Supervision default order with requirements in the range of:
30 – 40 hours unpaid work
12 hour curfew for minimum of 20 days
|Medium||Supervision default order with requirements in the range of:
20 – 30 hours unpaid work
4 – 8 hour curfew for minimum of 20 days
Band B fine
|High||Band A fine|
Breach of supervision default order
|Level of compliance||Penalty|
|Low||Revoke supervision default order and order up to 14 days’ committal to custody|
|Medium||Revoke supervision default order and impose new order with requirements in the range of:
40 – 60 hours unpaid work
8 – 16 hour curfew for minimum of 20 days
|High||Band B fine|
|Fine Band A||50% of relevant weekly income||25 – 75% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band B||100% of relevant weekly income||75 – 125% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band C||150% of relevant weekly income||125 – 175% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band D||250% of relevant weekly income||200 – 300% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band E||400% of relevant weekly income||300 – 500% of relevant weekly income|
|Fine Band F||600% of relevant weekly income||500 – 700% of relevant weekly income|
- The court should determine the appropriate level of fine in accordance with this guideline and section 125 of the Sentencing Code, which requires that the fine must reflect the seriousness of the offence and that the court must take into account the financial circumstances of the offender.
- Where possible, if a financial penalty is imposed, it should remove any economic benefit the offender has derived through the commission of the offence including:
- avoided costs;
- operating savings;
- any gain made as a direct result of the offence.
- The fine should meet, in a fair and proportionate way, the objectives of punishment, deterrence and the removal of gain derived through the commission of the offence; it should not be cheaper to offend than to comply with the law.
- In considering economic benefit, the court should avoid double recovery.
- Where the means of the offender are limited, priority should be given to compensation (where applicable) over payment of any other financial penalty.
- Where it is not possible to calculate or estimate the economic benefit, the court may wish to draw on information from the enforcing authorities about the general costs of operating within the law.
- When sentencing organisations the fine must be sufficiently substantial to have a real economic impact which will bring home to both management and shareholders the need to comply with the law. The court should ensure that the effect of the fine (particularly if it will result in closure of the business) is proportionate to the gravity of the offence.
- Obtaining financial information: It is for the offender to disclose to the court such data relevant to their financial position as will enable it to assess what they can reasonably afford to pay. If necessary, the court may compel the disclosure of an individual offender’s financial circumstances pursuant to section 35 of the Sentencing Code. In the absence of such disclosure, or where the court is not satisfied that it has been given sufficient reliable information, the court will be entitled to draw reasonable inferences as to the offender’s means from evidence it has heard and from all the circumstances of the case. In setting a fine, the court may conclude that the offender is able to pay any fine imposed unless the offender has supplied financial information to the contrary.
For Breach of post-sentence supervision or Breach of a supervision default order:
- The maximum period of committal to custody which can be imposed is 14 days
- The maximum fine which can be imposed is £1,000
A supervision default order must include either:
- an unpaid work requirement of between 20 hours – 60 hours to be completed before the end of the post-sentence supervision period
- a curfew requirement for between 2 – 16 hours for a minimum of 20 days and no longer than the remaining duration of the post-sentence supervision period