Receiving credit for and review of sentence following assistance given or withheld by the defendant

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Receiving credit for and review of sentence following assistance given or withheld by the defendant
  • Credit for giving assistance at common law
  • Statutory scheme for reduction in sentence for assistance given to the prosecution
  • Amount of credit
  • When can a sentence be reviewed?
  • Failure to provide the agreed assistance
  • Offender providing assistance after sentencing
  • Prosecutor’s approach to sentence referral procedure
  • Appeal of a review of sentence

Receiving credit for and review of sentence following assistance given or withheld by the defendant

This Practice Note reflects the procedural code for sentencing offenders in England and Wales that applies from 1 December 2020, as set out in Parts 2–13 of the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020) (Sentencing Code). For those considering whether the Sentencing Code applies to their case, see Practice Note: Sentencing Code.

Credit for giving assistance at common law

At common law, an offender convicted of a crime may receive credit for any assistance which has been rendered to the police or other law enforcement authorities.

At common law, it is incumbent upon prosecution authorities to provide all relevant information to a sentencing judge, including details of any co-operation or assistance rendered by the offender.

In some circumstances, such information will be highly sensitive—it might, for example, identify an informant. A system has developed to deal with these cases whereby a ‘text’ (the name given to letter from a senior officer who is not connected with the case) is sent to the judge on a confidential basis. This will set out:

  1. whether the offender is a Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA 2000) (see Practice Note: Covert intelligence sources)

  2. the details of the assistance provided, the information or intelligence provided and whether they are willing to be

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