New sentencing guidelines approved by High Court

New sentencing guidelines approved by High Court

The High Court of Justiciary has approved a new sentencing guideline developed by the Scottish Sentencing Council aimed at increasing public knowledge and understanding of the sentencing process in Scotland.

The sentencing process guideline sets out an eight-step guide that courts should follow in order to reach a sentencing decision, including some of the factors which may be taken into account.

Following research and consultation with the public and judiciary, the council submitted the guideline to the High Court for approval last month.

Three judges of the High Court, the Lord Justice General, Lord CarlowayLord Menzies, and Lord Woolman have approved the guideline and confirmed that it will come into effect for all courts in Scotland from 22 September 2021.

Sheriff Principal Craig Turnbull, chair of the council’s sentencing process committee said: “The approval of the sentencing process guideline is a significant milestone in the Council’s work to make sentencing more open and transparent in Scotland. For the first time, people will be able to see the steps a court follows in order to arrive at an appropriate sentence and some of the factors which are taken into account.

“The council believes this guideline will promote a consistent approach to sentencing and will enhance understanding of how sentencing works in Scotland’s courts. The approval of the sentencing process guideline also paves the way for specific offence guidelines which the council is currently developing.

“We would like to thank all those who have aided the Council in developing this guideline, in particular members of the judiciary and others who have been involved in research to inform the development of the guideline, as well as the invaluable contribution from the individuals and organisations who responded to our consultation.”

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