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Sentencing Council annual report highlights first guideline

23 September 2019

The approval of Scotland’s first sentencing guideline was the most notable achievement of a busy and positive year for the Scottish Sentencing Council, according to its chair, Lady Dorrian, the Lord Justice Clerk.

Writing in the Council’s 2018-19 annual report, Lady Dorrian notes the Council’s hope that its first guideline, on the “Principles and purposes of sentencing”, will be of particular use to the public, as well as assisting the judiciary and encouraging consistency in how sentencing is approached.

Published late last year, the guideline set out for the first time the fundamental principles which underpin sentencing in Scotland and the purposes which sentencing seeks to achieve. The guideline has already been referred to in a number of opinions delivered by the High Court.

The report also highlights the progress being made in a variety of areas, including:

  • continuing work on sentencing guidelines relating to the sentencing process, sentencing young people, and causing death by driving;
  • the publication of the Council’s work programme for 2018-21, which includes plans to develop guidelines relating to sexual offences and sentence discounting;
  • preparatory research around the sentencing of sexual offences, including hosting over 80 organisations and individuals at a conference in 2018;
  • the launch of educational resources for modern studies teachers; and
  • commissioning research on sentencing of young people and sentence discounting, as well as a national survey on exploring public understanding of sentencing.

Click here to view the annual report.

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