September 2010 articles archive:

Maximum sentences-are they being used?

Parliament lays down in legislation the maximum sentence that a person could receive if convicted of a particular offence.

Parliament lays down in legislation the maximum sentence that a person could receive if convicted of a particular offence.  This seems to raise the natural presumption that such maximum sentences are reserved for the most serious offenders in our midst.  Not so according to figures recently released to Parliament by the Ministry of Justice.  The figures refer to sentences handed out in the year 2008.

Apparently, during that year, 79,058 criminals were jailed in England and Wales for indictable or 'serious' offences – yet only 621 of them were handed the maximum term.

The figures make for interesting reading showing that only two out of 5,000 offenders convicted of robbery, received a maximum sentence; four out of 6,000 in the case of fraud; 39 out of 3,000 sex offenders received the full wraith of the law and were given a maximum sentence.

The figures have prompted a strong reaction from victim support groups and is sure to reopen debates about where the politicians stand over sentencing and law and order.

The Ministry of Justice seem to want to distance themselves from responsibility and has been reported as saying “Sentencing in individual court cases must always be a matter for the independent judiciary as only they have the full facts of each case.

“The Ministry of Justice is currently conducting a full assessment of sentencing and rehabilitation to ensure that it is effective in deterring crime, protecting the public, punishing offenders and cutting re-offending."  In other words blame the judiciary!



Recent Posts

The latest posts from the blog archives.

Caparo three part test – revisited

In Robinson the Supreme Court laid to rest the proposition that there is a Caparo test which applies to all claims in the modern law of negligence.

Statutory interpretation - penal legislation is construed strictly

The Supreme Court reminded everyone per Lord Reed and Lord Hughes that 'Penal legislation is construed strictly, particularly where the penalty involves deprivation of liberty'.

Court of appeal gives judgment acknowledging unmarried woman's rights

The claim related to bereavement payments under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 as amended.

European union law – in the case of conflict between national law and european law

Walker (Appellant) v Innospec Limited and others (Respondents) [2017] UKSC 47 On appeal from [2015] EWCA Civ 1000

Vicarious liability is alive and well

This decision extends the doctrine of vicarious liability in respect of foster carers for the fist time and it represents another example of the potential for the expansion of this form of liability.

Supreme court busy - make sure you are geared up for your course

The Supreme Court has been especially busy lately.

Gina miller v secretary of state for exiting the eu 2016 as an example of the importance of judicial independence

Law students are now required to take note of how the independence and work of the judiciary has been reformed

Policing and crime bill and provisions for bail after arrest but before charge

The clear intention is that decisions on pre-charge bail should come under scrutiny.