Updates to Sentencing Guidelines

The Sentencing Council has published a new General Guideline with extended explanations.

The new Guidelines comes into force for all individual offenders aged 18 and older and organisations sentenced on or after 1 October 2019. On that date, the SCG Seriousness guideline will be withdrawn.

The Council has produced a short video guide to accessing and using the General guideline and the expanded explanations, which is available on its website.

The following changes were published on 24 July 2019 and came into effect immediately:

  • changes to the wording of medium culpability in the Theft, Robbery and Fraud guidelines
  • addition of a link to the Equal Treatment Bench Book in all sentencing guidelines
  • note indicating that the statutory maximum sentence has changed but is not yet reflected in a guideline (where applicable).

The following changes will be made by 1 October 2019 and came into effect immediately:

  • standardisation of the presentation of maximum sentences across guidelines
  • standardisation and updating of the wording relating to the ‘dangerousness’ provisions across relevant guidelines.
  • standardisation of the wording relating to credit to be given for time spent on qualifying bail in the remaining SGC guidelines– a drop-down box containing the list of common aggravating and mitigating factors that was previously available in the Seriousness guideline.

Sentencing Council Chairman, Lord Justice Holroyde, said:

“The publication of the General guideline and expanded explanations marks an important change in the way sentencing guidelines are accessed and used in England and Wales. Since November 2018 sentencing guidelines have been published in digital format on the Sentencing Council website and now expanded explanations are embedded in all offence specific guidelines and in the General guideline”.