2018/19 Annual Report laid before Parliament and published

20 September 2019

The approval of Scotland’s first sentencing guideline was the most notable achievement of a busy and positive year for the Scottish Sentencing Council, according to its Chair, Lady Dorrian, the Lord Justice Clerk.

Writing in the Council’s 2018/19 Annual Report, which was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 19 September, Lady Dorrian noted the Council’s hope that this first guideline will be of particular use to the public, as well as assisting the judiciary and encouraging consistency in how sentencing is approached.

The “Principles and purposes of sentencing” guideline sets out for the first time the fundamental principles which underpin sentencing in Scotland and the purposes which sentencing seeks to achieve. The guideline came into force in November last year and has already been referred to in a number of opinions delivered by the High Court.

The annual report, which covers the period 01 April 2018 – 31 March 2019, describes the Council’s key achievements, work in progress, expenditure, its development of sentencing guidelines, and a range of other work carried out over the course of the year.

In addition to the approval of the Council’s first guideline, the report highlights the progress being made in a variety of areas, including:

  • continuing work on sentencing guidelines relating to the sentencing process, sentencing young people, and causing death by driving;
  • the publication of the Council’s work programme for 2018-21, which includes plans to develop guidelines relating to sexual offences and sentence discounting;
  • preparatory research around the sentencing of sexual offences, including hosting over 80 organisations and individuals at a conference in 2018;
  • the launch of educational resources for modern studies teachers; and
  • commissioning research on sentencing of young people and sentence discounting as well as a national survey on exploring public understanding of sentencing.