Principles and purposes of sentencing guideline

As a first step in its work to develop sentencing guidelines, the Council decided to prepare a guideline on the general principles and purposes of sentencing.

Although some guidance on appropriate sentences in particular cases is available, in the form of court decisions, the fundamental principles and purposes of sentencing in Scotland have not been expressly defined in any single piece of legislation or court judgment.

We believe that a sentencing guideline which clearly sets out both the principles underlying sentencing decisions and the overarching purposes of sentencing will bring significant benefits both to the public and to the courts.

In particular, the guideline is intended to:

The guideline was approved by the High Court of Justiciary on Tuesday 30 October 2018 and applies to sentencing for all offences from Monday 26 November 2018.


Currently at stage: 8


Consultation Documents

Draft Guideline

Consultation Document

Draft Impact Assessment

Consultation Analysis

Response to Consultation


Final guideline (approved by the high court on 30 October 2018)

Impact assessment