On 1 December 2020 the Sentencing Code came into effect in England and Wales, consolidating existing sentencing procedure law into a single Sentencing Act.

The Code covers sentencing for adults and under 18s and applies to all convictions made on or after 1 December 2020, irrespective of the date on which the offence was committed. From this date, judges and magistrates need to refer to the Code, rather than to previous legislation, although there will be some transitional cases where an offender is convicted before 1 December but is sentenced later.

The Code includes general provisions relating to sentencing procedure, the different types of sentences available to the courts, and certain behaviour orders that can be imposed in addition to a sentence. It is a consolidation only so has made no substantive changes to the law.

Sentencing guidelines

All offence specific and overarching sentencing guidelines, expanded explanations and explanatory materials have been amended to reflect the Sentencing Code. The Council has made every effort to update all relevant legislation references across the website but please let us know if we have missed anything.

Schedule of changes made to sentencing guidelines and related materials

More information

The Sentencing Code – 10 things you need to know
Sentencing Act 2020
Sentencing Code: tables of origins and destinations