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July 10, 2008

Debate and controversy over sentencing in the UK

There has been a lot of notable sentencing news coming from the UK, and this latest story, headlined "Judges' revolt stops curb on court sentencing powers," highlights judicial push-back on efforts to develop binding sentencing guidelines.  Here is how the story starts:

The Government has proposed creating a Sentencing Commission that would make sentences more uniform, allowing ministers to control and predict the flow of criminals into jails. The Ministry of Justice has said that that the move could cut the number of short prison terms imposed and lead to more criminals being given community sentences.

But after a backlash from judges and magistrates, Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, is likely to water down the proposals.

Another story, headlined "We're out of touch on knife crime, says top judge," highlights concerns about undue sentencing leniency for a UK "crime wave."  Here is how this story starts:

Courts are out of touch with Britain's knife crime epidemic, the country's top judge has admitted. Advice for judges and magistrates to punish people caught with knives had failed to keep pace with the knife culture on Britain's streets, warned Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice.

July 10, 2008 at 07:45 AM | Permalink


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Future law student. I'm very interested that you've picked up on this and I've sent you an un-anonymised email about it. Basically Apprendi-Blakely-Booker is a comparative law gold mine so far as the UK is concerned - though one which I've not seen any academics yet exploit.

Posted by: Solemn Wanderer | Jul 10, 2008 8:07:36 AM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB