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English Legal System

English Legal System (3rd edn)

Steve Wilson, Helen Rutherford, Tony Storey, and Natalie Wortley
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date: 22 September 2021

p. 49714. Sentencinglocked

p. 49714. Sentencinglocked

  • Steve Wilson, Steve Wilsonformer Principal Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Helen Rutherford, Helen RutherfordSenior Lecturer and Solicitor, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  • Tony StoreyTony StoreySenior Lecturer, Northumbria University, Newcastle
  •  and Natalie WortleyNatalie WortleyAssociate Professor of Law, Northumbria University, Newcastle


This chapter explains the aims of sentencing and types of sentence that may be imposed upon a convicted offender. The main sentencing options that are available to a court when an adult is convicted of a criminal offence include: absolute and conditional discharges; fines; community orders; and imprisonment. Custodial sentences include extended determinate sentences, the new sentence for offenders of particular concern, and life sentences. A custodial sentence has punishment as its primary purpose, whereas a community order focuses more on reform and rehabilitation. The chapter also outlines the key types of sentence that can be imposed upon youths and discusses restorative justice initiatives. It explores the various factors to which the judge or magistrates must have regard when passing sentence, including maximum/minimum sentences, the nature and seriousness of the offence, sentencing guidelines and pre-sentence reports.

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