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MA response to Sentencing Council consultation on the Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines

Consultation response


28 April 2020
MA response to Sentencing Council consultation on the Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines

The MA has responded to the Sentencing Council's consultation on changes to the Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines and associated explanatory materials. The proposals cover amendments to driving offences disqualifications, breaches of community orders and clarifications to some explanatory materials.

Our response made the following points:

  • We welcomed the clarification and additional advice to magistrates provided by the proposed changes, especially where responding to issues flagged up by the experiences of magistrates and legal advisers
  • Specifically, we agreed with the proposed changes to the driving whilst disqualified guidelines and the breach of a community order guidelines. However, we made some suggestions on how the changes should be presented, as we felt the proposed structure could lead to confusion among sentencers
  • We welcomed the proposed changes to the guidance on fines for high income offenders, and agreed that it would be just and fair that high income offenders should pay the same proportion of their income as lower earners. However, we suggested that it would be helpful for sentencers if the guidance could clarify how reductions for a guilty plea would work for cases where the proportion of a high earner's weekly income would amount to more than £5,000
  • We broadly agreed with the proposed changes to the guidance on totting up points in relation to disqualifications from driving and exceptional hardship, but suggested that the definition of 'exceptional hardship' should be expanded for clarity. We also thought it might be helpful to include a couple of scenarios on exceptional hardship in the explanatory materials
     

Our full response can be found here.

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