This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the scheduled second reading committee on the Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill [HL] on 12 June 2019.
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In 2014, the Coalition Government agreed that the Law Commission (the commission) should undertake a project to consolidate the law on sentencing. In November 2018, the commission published its draft Sentencing Bill which would give effect to a new consolidated sentencing code (the code). When introduced this would take the form of a ‘consolidation bill’. The Government has said that it would be subject to the parliamentary procedure for Law Commission consolidation bills. The code would re-enact law already in force and would not alter its substance or effect. Alongside the draft Sentencing Bill the commission also published a draft Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill.
The Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill was introduced as a government bill and had its first reading in the House of Lords on 22 May 2019. It would make amendments to the law on sentencing to facilitate the operation and enactment of the code (known as pre-consolidation amendments). The bill would also provide for a “clean sweep” of sentencing law. The explanatory notes to the bill describe this as a “new approach” and would remove historic and redundant layers of legislation. The clean sweep would mean that offenders convicted after the code came into force would be sentenced according to the most up-to-date law regardless of when the offence was committed (with certain exceptions).