Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme

Few may have heard of the scheme known as the “Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme”, which provides for anybody at all, whether connected to a case or not, to apply to the Attorney General for a sentence imposed in England and Wales to be reviewed if they consider it to be unduly lenient.  It only needs one person to make the referral.

The scheme is limited to certain categories of offence, which include child cruelty and certain child sex offences, some serious drugs offences, serious fraud cases, offences that are racially aggravated or subject to religious aggravation, rape, robbery and murder.

The list of offences that can be referred is being increased to include an additional nineteen terror-related offences, such as failure to disclose information about a terrorist attack, taking part in weapons training and supporting extremist organisations.

Last year this provision led to 141 terms of imprisonment being increased, including reclassification of offences to  life sentences. The request has to be submitted to the Attorney General’s Office within 28 days of the sentence being imposed.

The information provided should be as detailed as possible after the hearing, including the identification of the person sentenced; the offence that they have been convicted of; and the date and venue of the sentencing hearing. Application can be made in writing, by email (uls.referrals@attorneygeneral.gsi.gov.uk), or the Office can be contacted by telephone (020 7271 2492).


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