Scottish Sentencing Council to be established by October

Scottish Sentencing Council to be established by October

A date has been announced for the establishment of the new Scottish Sentencing Council (SSC).

The Scottish government has confirmed that the SSC will be established by October this year with a view to having a first meeting in November.

The objectives of the SSC are to promote consistency and transparency in sentencing practice, assist in developing sentencing policy and encourage better understanding of sentences across Scotland.

The SSC will also be responsible for producing sentencing guidelines for the judiciary.

The Scottish Sentencing Council will be chaired by the lord justice clerk, Lord Carloway (pictured) and will include five other judicial office holders, three legal members, a police officer, a victims’ representative and another non-judicial member.

Lord Carloway said: “I welcome the progress being made towards establishing the Scottish Sentencing Council.

“The creation of the council, with its responsibility to prepare guidelines to assist the courts in sentencing and to describe the potential effects of those guidelines, will help to ensure a consistent and coherent approach to sentencing practice and policy in Scotland.

“It will also assist the public, by providing information on sentencing matters and by improving understanding and awareness of the sentencing process.

“Importantly, the founding legislation provides for a broad and inclusive range of experience across the Council membership. This will place it in good stead for carrying out the significant tasks ahead.”

Justice secretary Michael Matheson said: “Sentencing can be an extremely complicated and emotive issue and the creation of the new Scottish Sentencing Council will offer greater clarity and openness around why and how sentences are decided while giving the public a better understanding of the process.

“By outlining the purposes and key principles that underpin judicial decision making, we can increase the public’s confidence in the criminal justice system and continue to ensure fair and appropriate sentences are delivered for the people of Scotland.

“While the Scottish Sentencing Council will create sentencing guidelines we continue to recognise that an independent judiciary is the fundamental cornerstone of the Scottish criminal justice system and the significant importance of judicial discretion in individual sentencing decisions.”

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