Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Nice Line From The Lord Chief

The Lord Chief Justice spoke last night at a top-level dinner. This bit of his speech caught my eye:-
The demands of my current position did mean that I had to catch up with developments in criminal law over the past eight years, and that proved quite a task.

I enrolled on the Judicial Studies Board Criminal Law Continuation Course - for me it was very much an induction course.......

I was astonished and concerned at the complexity of the sentencing exercise that a judge is required to perform. There has been a deluge of legislation over recent years affecting sentencing.

This, together with the guidance of the Sentencing Guidelines Council, restricts the scope of the discretion that a judge previously enjoyed when deciding on the appropriate sentence.

It takes a lot of study to master the intricacies of sentencing today, which can result in criticisms of sentences by those who have not conducted such study being wide of the mark.

I have asked Lord Justice Keene, who chairs the Judicial Studies Board, whether he can lay on a sentencing induction course for Home Secretaries. He is considering this, but has warned me that the frequency of such courses would have resource implications.

Nicely put, Your Lordship.

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