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20 October 2021

A consultation paper on the sentencing of terrorism offences. Closes 11 January 2022.

Terrorism offences: Consultation

An online consultation is also available.

What is this consultation about?

Parliament has introduced new legislation to ensure that the law can continue to deal adequately with the changing nature of terrorism offences. The Council is proposing revisions to existing sentencing guidelines to reflect the new legislation and make sure that the courts have comprehensive and up-to-date guidance for sentencing terrorism cases.

Who should respond?

We would like to hear from anyone who might use the sentencing guidelines in their work, has an interest in sentencing or the criminal justice system or has knowledge and expertise in the field of terrorism offending. We would also like to hear from anyone who could be affected by the implementation of these guidelines as a victim or defendant or who represents people who might be affected.

What do we want to know?

Following the introduction of the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021, the Council is proposing a series of amendments to four existing sentencing guidelines to bring them into line with the new legislation:

The Council would like to hear your views on:

  • the addition of guidance for judges sentencing offenders who meet the criteria for a ‘serious terrorism sentence’. This is a new type of sentence that carries a minimum penalty of 14 years’ custody unless exceptional circumstances apply;
  • the addition of new guidance and principles for judges to follow when considering whether there may be exceptional circumstances that justify a departure from that sentence;
  • changes to the Membership and Support guidelines, which include increases to sentence levels. This change is necessary as the statutory maximum sentence for both offences has increased from 10 to 14 years; and
  • the addition of guidance to the Preparation of terrorist acts and Explosive substances (terrorism only) guidelines to assist judges sentencing cases which include the involvement of law enforcement authorities, where culpability will be assessed as if the law enforcement officer was a genuine conspirator and harm based on the harm that the offender intended and the viability of the plan. (This change is unrelated to the new Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021).

You can give your views by answering questions on just the areas you are interested in or you could answer all the questions in the consultation.

How to respond

You can send your answers by email to Vicky Hunt at or you could use the online questionnaire, which you will find here:

When do you need to respond?

The consultation runs until 11 January 2022.