The Minister for State for Policing and Criminal Justice, the Right Honourable Damian Green MP, stated in a speech given in August 2013:
Around 40% of defendants that are convicted in magistrates’ courts and then committed to the Crown Court for custodial sentences receive no more than six months imprisonment. These are cases which magistrates could have sentenced; no, these are cases which magistrates should have sentenced; they already have the skills, capability and powers to do so.
Following consultation with the Minister, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), the Magistrates’ Association (MA) commissioned research to look into why cases were sent to Crown Court for sentence, why they then received sentences within magistrates’ powers and what could be done to ensure more of the appropriate cases are retained by magistrates.
The executive summary and full report can be accessed by selecting the links below.