The Law Commission is the statutory independent body created by the Law Commissions Act 1965 to keep the law under review and to recommend reform where it is needed. The aim of the Commission is to ensure that the law is:
Modern sentencing procedure is complex, and the law that governs it is unclear and difficult to understand.
On 26 January we launched our work on codifying the entire law relating to sentencing procedure. Our aim is to introduce a single sentencing statute that will act as the first and only port of call for sentencing tribunals. It will set out the relevant provisions in a clear and logical way, and ensure that all updates to sentencing procedure can be found in a single place.
Launching the project, Professor David Ormerod QC, Law Commissioner for criminal law, said: “We know from discussion and informal consultation with practitioners and sentencing judges that the volume, complexity and, on occasion, obscurity of current sentencing legislation causes real problems in practice, not least a startlingly high rate of unlawful sentences and consequent appeals.
“At this initial stage of the project, we are asking the people who work with the system – practitioners and judiciary – to provide us with more information. We would like to hear about particular instances or types of situation where the current process is adversely affected by the structure, complexity, drafting or volume of legislation.”
The codification project has received strong support, including from the Sentencing Council, which reflects a wide agreement that the law in this area is in urgent need of reform.
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