Sentencing Council General Guideline—Overarching Principles
Sentencing Council General Guideline—Overarching Principles

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

  • Sentencing Council General Guideline—Overarching Principles
  • The General guideline—application
  • Offences not covered by a specific sentencing guideline
  • Using the General guideline—expanded explanations
  • The General guideline—seriousness, culpability and harm
  • Sentencing for offences with no offence specific guideline under the General guideline
  • Step 1—reaching a provisional sentence
  • Step 2—aggravating and mitigating features
  • Step 2—fines and community or custodial sentences
  • Step 3—consider any factors which indicate a reduction for assistance to the prosecution
  • More...

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

This Practice Note provides an introduction to the Sentencing Council’s General Guideline—overarching principles (the General guideline), which should be read in conjunction with offence specific sentencing guidelines and other overarching guidelines covering eg community and custodial sentences, offences taken into consideration, totality and reduction in sentence for a guilty plea.

For further information on sentencing practice, and the role of the Sentencing Council and its published definitive guidelines on sentencing, see Practice Note: Sentences and the power to vary a sentence. For further information on the Sentencing Council’s sentencing guidelines for use in the magistrates’ court (often referred to as the Magistrates’ Court Sentencing Guidelines or MCSG) and offence specific guidelines (previously described as definitive guidelines) for use by Crown Courts in England and Wales, see Practice Note: Sentencing criminal offences—sentencing guidelines and resources.

The General guideline—application

The General guideline applies to all individual offenders aged 18 or over and to organisations who are sentenced after 1 October 2019, regardless of the date of the offence. The General guideline replaced the Overarching Principles Seriousness: Definitive guideline (2004)

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