HC Deb 10 November 1992 vol 213 c665W
Mr. Vaz

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what studies he has carried out into sentencing for similar offences in different parts of the country; and what plans he has to deal with disparities in sentencing for similar offences by different courts.

Mr. Jack

[holding answer 9 November 1992]: I have been asked to reply.

Information about the sentencing practice of Crown court centres and magistrates courts petty sessional divisions is being published by the Secretary of State, in pursuance of his statutory duty under section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 to enable persons engaged in the administration of justice to become aware of the financial implications of their decisions. Volume I of an eight-volume publication on costs of the criminal justice system was published on 29 October. It provides information about sentencing including information about sentencing for similar offences, in the Crown court. The remaining volumes will provide information about sentencing in the magistrates courts and will be published shortly. The sentencing profiles revealed in these publications must be read with caution. They cannot reflect what may be underlying differences in the workload and case mix at different courts. Sentencing in individual cases is entirely a matter for the courts in the light of all the circumstances of the offence and subject to the decisions of, and any guidance from, the Court of Appeal. A substantial programme of training on good sentencing practice is provided for both judges and magistrates under the auspices of the Judicial Studies Board.

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