The Sentencing Process

Closed 6 Sep 2019

Opened 12 Jun 2019

Results updated 17 Jun 2021

Analysis of the responses to the Sentencing Process consultation was undertaken by Dr McPherson of the University of Glasgow on behalf of the Council. This was published on 17 June 2021.

The Council's report on the consultation, which sets out our views on the key points raised and indicates how we have adjusted our approach as a result, was also published on 17 June 2021.

Links to both documents can be found below.


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


On a daily basis, criminal courts throughout Scotland impose sentences on offenders. However, the sentencing process itself is not always fully understood by the public. We therefore believe that a guideline on the sentencing process will help to increase public knowledge and understanding of how courts make sentencing decisions. We think that it will help to promote greater consistency in sentencing, by providing a useful framework which applies to all sentencing decisions. And it will also provide the foundation for future guidelines dealing with specific offences.

This consultation exercise seeks your views on the draft guideline on the sentencing process.

Why your views matter

The Council is committed to carrying out public consultations on all our guidelines. This is a key part of the guideline development process and we are keen to hear from all those with an interest in our work.  We aim to engage with as wide and diverse an audience as possible in developing our guidelines to ensure that they are fit for purpose. This includes the wider public as well as criminal justice organisations, charities, academics, and other interested organisations.

If you are unable to respond to this consultation online, please contact the Scottish Sentencing Council directly to discuss alternative arrangements.

Consultation Materials

The consultation paper, draft sentencing guideline, and draft impact assessment are available for download:

The sentencing process - consultation paper (411 kB)

The sentencing process - draft guideline (387 kB)

The sentencing process - draft impact assessment (328 kB)

To respond to this consultation, please complete the survey below.

What happens next

The consultation process is now complete.


  • All judiciary
  • Advocates
  • Solicitors
  • Offender support organisations
  • Victim support organisations


  • General applicability guidelines