Sentencing Code

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

  • Sentencing Code
  • What is the Sentencing Code?
  • When do provisions of the Sentencing Code apply?
  • What doesn’t the Sentencing Code cover?
  • Finding the provisions you need

Sentencing Code

This Practice Note explains the scope and purpose of the Sentencing Code which was created by the Sentencing Act 2020 and which, since 1 December 2020, provides the single consolidated law on sentencing criminal offences in the courts in England and Wales.

What is the Sentencing Code?

The Sentencing Code is the name given to Parts 2 to 13 of the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020) which together comprise the consolidated rules of procedure for the sentencing of criminal offences by the criminal courts in England and Wales. It replaces the huge volume of pre-existing legislation which provided the procedural requirements to be followed by magistrates’ courts, Crown Courts and the Court of Appeal Criminal Division and will be the sole reference point for the rules to be followed when sentencing convicted offenders.

Criminal lawyers practising in the criminal courts should be familiar with the Sentencing Code in conjunction with the Criminal Procedure Rules 2020, SI 2020/759 (CrimPR) and any applicable sentencing guidelines whenever representing individuals or corporate bodies convicted for offences.

For an introduction to the CrimPR, see Practice Note: The Criminal Procedure Rules.

For information on the sentencing guidelines published by the Sentencing Council to be followed by the courts during sentencing, see Practice Note: Sentencing criminal offences—sentencing guidelines and resources.

The Sentencing Code is the result of project by the Law Commission which started in

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