46% of court cases not referred under Unduly Lenient Sentencing Scheme


Nearly half of the court cases requested for review after a member of the public felt the sentencing was too low were not referred, according to new data published by the Government.

The Unduly Lenient Sentence Scheme was introduced to allow members of the public to ask the Crown Court to reconsider a sentence if they feel it is too low.

Data published by the Attorney General’s Office reveals that 1 in 11 cases referred to the scheme was referred to the Court of Appeal.

The Attorney General’s Office can only review certain cases given by Crown Court’s in England and Wales if they are referred by a member of the public.

These include:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Some child sex crimes and child cruelty
  • Some serious fraud
  • Some serious drug crimes
  • Some terror-related offences
  • Crimes committed because of the victim’s race of religion 

Murder was the offence with the highest number of referrals in 2019.

BBC News reported in 2019 that a third of public requests to extend “lenient” sentences were rejected because the crimes committed were not eligible for review.

Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman told the BBC that all driving crimes where someone died should be included after his mother was killed by a careless driver.

The government has since extended the scheme and added 14 offences in which people can refer to the attorney general.

All court cases under the unduly lenient sentence scheme must be requested within 28 days of the ruling.

Only one request by a member of the public is needed for the government to decide for a sentence to be looked at again.


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