Justice Minister, Robert Buckland, plans “clean sweep” to sentencing laws

Robert Buckland QC MP has spoken about his plans to simplify and tidy up the country’s complex sentencing laws following the announcement of his appointment as Justice Minister.

Judges currently have to contend with more than 1,300 pages of convoluted and overlapping law – making it difficult to apply the law consistently and causing unnecessary delays to the justice process.

A new Sentencing Code will bring greater clarity to sentencing laws, reducing the number of errors made whilst making sentencing hearings more efficient.

The Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill introduced to Parliament today will make necessary technical amendments and remove historic, now redundant layers of legislation, to pave the way for the Sentencing Code.

This will include enacting a ‘clean sweep’ to sentencing procedural law, which will allow for all offenders convicted after the Sentencing Code comes into force to be sentenced according to the most up to date law, irrespective of when they committed the offence.

The clean sweep will be subject to exceptions to make sure that no offender is subject to a greater penalty than was available at the time the offence was committed.

Justice Minister Robert Buckland said:

“It is vital that judges have complete clarity when making sentencing decisions, so we want to do all we can to reduce the complexity of the law, some of which is centuries old. This is something that as a barrister and part-time Judge that I have long recognised as an issue and that I am pleased to be able to introduce this reform

“This Bill will pave the way for the Sentencing Code, simplifying the statute book and helping the public to better understand the sentencing process.”