Scottish Sentencing Council holds inaugural meeting

Scottish Sentencing Council holds inaugural meeting

The Scottish Sentencing Council’s inaugural meeting was held in Parliament House on 14 December when members laid the ground for future work, including an agreement to fully consult on sentencing guidelines.

The council is obligated to consult Scottish ministers and the Lord Advocate when preparing guidelines, but members agreed to widen the scope to include the public.

Council member John Scott QC said: “The Council wants to go a step beyond its requirement to raise awareness of sentencing practice by encouraging people to actively engage in a consultation process with the opportunity to have their say in the discussion.

“Sentencing guidelines will inevitably have an impact on the victims, offenders and families involved in criminal cases, as well as the justice system as a whole. From the outset the Council is determined to be a listening body, taking into account a wide scope of views and input.

“This means guidelines will not be rushed into place but prepared after considered consultation, which will include research into their likely effects, cost and benefits.”

The council’s next step is to decide how to prioritise the preparation of these guidelines. It must determine whether to consider sentences by offence, or by types of offender, or a combination of both.

In addition to using its own initiative, it will also take direction from the High Court and Sheriff Appeal Court as well as considering requests from Scottish ministers.

Prepared guidelines are sent to the High Court for approval and judges must take account of any that are relevant when imposing a sentence, or give reasons for not doing so.

Sentencing Council website


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