On these pages you will find information about how sentencing works, such as what a sentence is, what it is for and how it is worked out. You can also find out about the Sentencing Council and how we work to produce sentencing guidelines.

This short video will give you an outline of what kinds of sentence there are and how judges and magistrates decide what sentence to give. If you can’t watch the video, you could read the transcript.

In this video, a magistrate talks about sentencing in the magistrates’ courts. Almost all criminal court cases start in a magistrates’ court, with more than 90 per cent being completed there. If you can’t watch the video, you could read the transcript.

In the Crown Court, a judge oversees proceedings and decides what the sentence should be. This short film tells you about sentencing from the view of a Crown Court judge. If you can’t watch the video, you could read the transcript.

You can also find information about sentencing on GOV.UK.