Sentences for adult offenders—life sentences and imprisonment for public protection
Sentences for adult offenders—life sentences and imprisonment for public protection

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

  • Sentences for adult offenders—life sentences and imprisonment for public protection
  • Life imprisonment for dangerous offenders
  • Imprisonment for public protection
  • How the court determines dangerousness

Life imprisonment for dangerous offenders

Many sentences carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, eg rape, robbery or causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

In relation to these offences the court must impose the maximum sentence of life imprisonment (or custody for life in the case of a person aged at least 18 but under 21) if the conditions set out in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (CJA 2003) are met.

These conditions are:

  1. the offence is committed on or after 4 April 2005

  2. the offender is aged 18 or over

  3. the offender is convicted of one of the serious offences defined in CJA 2003, ie:

    1. a violent or sexual offence listed in Schedule 15 of CJA 2003, or

    2. an offence carrying life imprisonment or a maximum penalty of ten years or more

  4. the court is satisfied the offender represents a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm by committing further specified offences in the future

    1. CJA 2003 defines serious harm as death or serious personal injury, whether physical or psychological, or

    2. a specified offence is one of the violent or sexual offences listed in CJA 2003, Sch 15

  5. the maximum penalty for the offence is life imprisonment, and

  6. the court considers that the seriousness of the offence, or of the offence and one or more offences associated