Sentencing Council publishes revised totality guideline
The revised guideline follows a consultation process
The Sentencing Council published the revised totality guideline on 1 June, which sets out the principles for courts to follow when sentencing an offender for more than one offence, or in instances where the offender is already serving a sentence.
The changes to the totality guideline, which will come into force on 1 July 2023, include: giving greater prominence to guidance on how the courts can structure the sentence to achieve a just and proportionate outcome; prompting courts to explain how the sentence is structured for the benefit of offenders, victims and the general public; adding an explanation of how to approach sentencing offences committed before other offences for which an offender has already been sentenced; and bringing the guideline up to date to reflect changes in case law.
The totality guideline, which first entered into force in June 2012, is used in all criminal courts when sentencing an offender for more than one offence, or where the offender is already serving a sentence, to help the court consider whether the total sentence is just and proportionate to the overall offending behaviour. The totality guideline sets out the principles to be followed, the approach to different types of sentence and provides examples on how sentences should be structured in different circumstances.
Alongside the publication of the revised guideline, the Sentencing Council has also released a summary of the responses to the consultation on proposed revisions to the totality sentencing guideline, which ran from October 2022 to January 2023. There was a total of 26 responses to the consultation from a range of respondents, with the Sentencing Council detailing its response to each particular suggestion from the respondents.