Excerpt from the Foreword written May 2017
This new edition of Current Sentencing Practice demonstrates a welcome reaction to and recognition of the new sentencing landscape. The new editors, Lyndon Harris and Nicky Padfield, have produced an edition which is responsive to modern needs. Appropriate prominence is given to guidelines which increasingly cover the canvas of criminal sentencing, (and which is anticipated by the turn of the decade to cover all major criminal offences). That is not to say that case law is redundant. It is a vital source in the discussion and application of principles in a number of areas. Frequently decisions of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division shed light on the nuances and interpretation of individual guidelines or specific parts thereof. In areas where, as yet, there are no guidelines, carefully selected cases are of particular importance. The editors have in my view made a relevant and helpful selection of case law with these matters in mind. Their focus has been very much on matters which elucidate points of principle or issues of difficulty, rather than providing a body of case law which simply serves to provide a series of factual examples from which no helpful principle can be derived.
In 1987 the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Lane, commented in a foreword to an earlier edition of this work that “As sentencing options increase with more and more Parliamentary intervention, so the judge’s task becomes more and more difficult”. Nothing has occurred in the last 30 years to rob that statement of its validity. Indeed, those observations carry even greater weight today. The publication of this work in its modernised form is a very welcome addition to the tools available to judges and practitioners alike in finding their way successfully through increasingly difficult terrain.
Lord Justice of Appeal and Chair of the Sentencing Council of England and Wales