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Justice Select Committee backs 12 months sentencing powers

MPs support the Magistrates Association's call for increased sentencing jurisdiction

19 October 2016
Justice Select Committee backs 12 months sentencing powers

Malcolm Richardson JP, National Chairman of the Magistrates Association, has today welcomed the Justice Select Committee’s report into the role of the magistracy. The MPs’ report has backed the MA’s longstanding call for magistrates to have extended sentencing jurisdiction to hear cases carrying a 12-month custodial sentence for a single offence. The report also calls for a timetable from the Ministry of Justice for its implementation.

On behalf of MA members, Malcolm has hailed the report as “a victory for common sense and a signal of confidence in the magistracy”. A copy of the report is available here detailing its recommendations in full.

Publication of the report marks the culmination of a wide-ranging exploration of the role of the magistracy, its purpose and its central place in the criminal justice system. The MA gave powerful evidence to the Committee earlier this year, both in writing and in person. In addition to 12-month sentencing powers, the report has recommended that ensuring additional funding for the MA’s highly successful Magistrates in the Community (MiC) initiative is prioritised by the Ministry of Justice and Senior Judiciary. MiC is currently entirely funded by the MA.

Commenting on the report, Malcolm Richardson said: “The Select Committee’s report is a vindication of our calls for magistrates to be given greater scope to do their job via 12-months sentencing jurisdiction. It represents a victory for common sense and a signal of confidence in the magistracy.

“We now hope the Government will heed what the Committee has said by enacting dormant sentencing legislation. This will help magistrates free up the Crown Court by delivering timely and proportionate justice for victims much more quickly at the magistrates' court level.”

You can see more detail on the MA’s case for 12-months sentencing jurisdiction here and a copy of its written evidence to the Committee here.  

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