Following a number of consultations, the Law Commission have published the draft Sentencing Code alongside an accompanying report.
The current law of sentencing complex and difficult to understand as it is spread across numerous statutes, which frequently amended.
The Sentencing Code is intended to be a single statute which contains all of the law on sentencing procedure by consolidating the existing legislation.
Chapter 7 of the report deals with disposals relating to children and young people.
In relation to children the Law Commission make the following recommendations:
- the Government should include warrants and adjournments for previously imposed orders with a particular focus on the places to which a child or young person may be remanded or held, in its ongoing review of the provisions regarding remand.
- Once that review is complete the Government should consider amending the Sentencing Code to include general provisions which ensure a consistent approach in these area.
- the Government should consider whether the word ‘child’ or an analogous phrase should be used when referring to persons convicted under the age of 18 in future legislation, and whether the Sentencing Code should be amended to adopt such language.
- We recommend that the Government review whether regulations under paragraph 35 of Schedule 1 to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 should be made to allow courts periodically to review youth rehabilitation orders.
The clarity that the sentencing code will bring is welcomed. The use of the term ‘child’ for all those aged under 18 (rather than the use of ‘child or young person’) would bring the definition of the child in line with the definitions adopted in family law generally and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989.