Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Reform of sentencing: new law

with one comment

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 not only reforms legal aid, it also makes important changes to the sentencing options available to courts in criminal trials. In outline:

The Act contains a number of new measures to protect the public and reduce reoffending. These include:

  • Creating a new youth remand and sentencing structure, which gives more flexibility to courts to decide on appropriate disposals
  • Creating tougher community sentences with longer curfews for offenders
  • Giving prosecutors the right to appeal against bail decisions when they think the defendant could be dangerous, or might flee the country
  • Reforming the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society after their sentences.
  • Creating a tough new sentencing regime to replace the inconsistent Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentence.
  • Doubling to 30 years the starting point for sentences for murders motivated by hate on grounds of disability or transgender – in line with other hate crime murders.

In addition, the Act creates a number of new offences. These include:

  • Making it an offence to threaten people with a knife in public and at schools, with offenders receiving a minimum prison sentence (6 months for adults and a 4 months Detention Training Order for 16 and 17 year olds)
  • Making prisoners work harder, longer and on meaningful tasks, earning money for victims
  • Making it a crime to squat in people’s homes
  • Creating a new offence to appropriately punish drivers who seriously injure others by driving dangerously

Further information is at,SEF0,24B1P,2BC4T,1


Written by lwtmp

May 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Posted in Chapter 5

One Response

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  1. The new act doesn’t merely make it illegal to squat in people’s homes (since that was already illegal once they’d been told to leave by the resident or householder). It makes squatting in unoccupied residential buildings illegal – even if they have been unnoccupied for years. There is an element of retroactivity too so that all those currently squatting will become instant criminals as soon as it is in force. As an added twist the Act “clarifies” self-defence laws with a section making clear the legitimacy of individuals’ “defence of property” – which I think has worrying implications for squatters. I’ve done a couple of pieces on all this, the latest “After Trayvon, Britain’s stand your ground law” (also in the new Act)


    May 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm

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