Annual 'Roger Hood' Lecture: Forty Years On: Taking Stock of the Sentencing Guidelines Movement.

Event date
9 June 2022
Event time
17:00 - 18:30
Oxford week
TT 7
Online (Zoom)
Professor Julian V Roberts

Notes & Changes

Please note that this event will be recorded, if you do not wish to be part of the recording, please feel free to turn your cameras off once the talk begins. The talk will be made available on the Criminology website and YouTube channel at a later date. 

Forty Years On: Taking Stock of the Sentencing Guidelines Movement. 

Prof. Julian Roberts
Although originally conceived in England, sentencing guidelines and commissions first emerged in 1980 in several US jurisdictions. Over the next 40 years, these structures spread to other common law countries. Sentencing guidelines thus represent the most significant development in sentencing during this period. This presentation explores the evolution of this approach to structuring judicial discretion, and draws some conclusions about the successes and failures of guidelines to date. The primary focus is upon the guidelines developed in England and Wales and which have now been adapted for use by courts in other jurisdictions. I address a number of key questions: In what ways are guidelines issued by a diverse Sentencing Council or Commission superior to the traditional guidance emerging from the Court of Appeal? Have sentencing practices become more transparent and consistent as a result of the introduction of guidelines? Do the guidelines undermine individualisation at sentencing by excessively restricting judicial discretion? How might guidelines contribute to reducing the use of imprisonment as a sanction? Are they capable of eliminating or mitigating racial and ethnic disparities in sentencing outcomes?


Professor Julian Roberts holds a Ph.D from the University of Toronto and an LL.M. from the University of London. In 2021 he was awarded the American Society of Criminology 2021 Sellin-Glueck Award for scholarship that considers Criminal Justice Internationally and Comparatively.

Julian was a member of the Sentencing Council of England and Wales from 2008-2018. He is currently Executive Director of the Sentencing Academy, a London-based institute which links scholars with practitioners, and promotes greater public understanding of sentencing in England and Wales. Julian has authored or co-authored 8 books, the most recent of which is 'Paying for the Past' (with Richard Frase) published by the Oxford University Press. He has edited or co-edited 19 scholarly volumes, the most recent of which is Sentencing and Arificial Intelligence published by Oxford University Press in 2022.


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