Stage 3 - Seeking the views of judges
We need to have discussions with the judges affected by the guideline. This is essential to ensuring that guidelines are useful and will help sentencers. This will help us to understand current sentencing practice.
It will also highlight any areas of difficulty where judges think guidance would be helpful. The judges’ views will also be important once we have started to draft a guideline. This will help us to refine our approach and make sure the guideline is as helpful and usable as possible.
We will gather the views of the judges through a variety of methods. This might include, for example, testing what the draft guideline says and how it will be used with small groups of judges. We will also discuss with judges the issues surrounding particular types of offence or offender, as well as sentencing matters more generally.
We may also ask judges for their views during the development stage of guideline preparation, to explore where guidelines would be of particular assistance to them. This might include focus groups, formal discussion papers, in-depth interviews and larger group discussions.
What we learn from the judges may lead to revisions to the draft guideline before the next stage in the process.