Guidelines on Reduction in Sentences for Guilty Pleas
The Sentencing Advisory Panel has published a set of Guidelines on Reduction in Sentences for Guilty Pleas. Parties may raise the Guidelines in their submissions to the court from 1 October 2023.
The Guidelines are intended to encourage accused persons who wish to plead guilty to do so as early in the court process as possible. There are significant benefits to this, especially for victims. An early guilty plea by an accused person allows victims to find closure sooner, and spares victims and witnesses the need to prepare for a trial and to testify in court. It also allows for a faster resolution of cases.
Currently, accused persons already receive a reduction in sentence, in appropriate cases, if they plead guilty. The Guidelines aim to provide greater consistency, clarity and transparency to this existing practice, by setting out clearly the ranges of reduction in sentence that a court may consider granting based on when an accused person pleads guilty. Generally, the earlier the accused person decides to plead guilty, the greater the reduction in sentence that may be applied.
The Guidelines can be accessed here.