Miscellaneous amendments to sentencing guidelines – consultation
9 September 2021
2 December 2021
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The Sentencing Council is issuing a consultation on proposed amendments across several existing guidelines.
What is this consultation about?
The Sentencing Council has been in existence for over ten years and has built up a large body of sentencing guidelines that are in use in courts throughout England and Wales. There are inevitably issues that arise with existing guidelines over time and the Council has decided to hold an annual consultation on miscellaneous amendments to guidelines.
This is the first of these annual consultations in which the Council seeks the views of guideline users to proposals to make amendments to existing guidelines.
The proposals have come from various sources including case law, changes to legislation, feedback from sentencers and journal articles. The Council welcomes suggestions for changes to be included in future consultations and a feedback mechanism is being introduced into guidelines to make this easier.
Which offences and guidelines are covered?
The proposals can be summarised as follows:
- Breach of a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO): Adding a note to this guideline to make clear that it is not open to the court to vary the SHPO or make a fresh order of its own motion for breach.
- Compensation: Adding wording relating to giving reasons if compensation is not awarded in all relevant guidelines.
- Confiscation: providing fuller information on confiscation in all relevant guidelines.
- Racially or religiously aggravated offences: making the uplift for racial/ religious aggravation a separate step in the criminal damage (under £5,000) and criminal damage (over £5,000); section 4, section 4A and section 5 Public Order Act offences; harassment/ stalking and harassment/ stalking (with fear of violence) guidelines.
- Domestic Abuse overarching guideline: revising the definition of domestic abuse in the light of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and expanding it to include a wider range of relationships.
Who should respond?
We would like to hear from anyone who uses sentencing guidelines in their work or who has an interest in sentencing. We would also like to hear from anyone who could be affected by the proposed changes as a victim or defendant or who represents people who might be affected.
What do we want to know?
We are seeking views on the usefulness, accuracy and clarity of the proposed changes and anything else that you think should be considered.
You can give us your feedback on just the areas you are interested in or you could answer all the questions in the consultation.
When do you need to respond?
The consultation runs until 2 December 2021.