Sentencing and Criminal Penalties in Scotland

The independence of the judiciary is a fundamental principle of the Scottish legal system and Scottish Ministers attach great importance to judicial discretion in sentencing.

It is for the courts to decide on the most appropriate sentence, within the limits provided by Parliament, in any particular case. Each case is unique and only the court hears all the facts and circumstances surrounding the offence and the offender.

The role of the Scottish Government is to ensure that the courts have a sufficient range of penalties available to them to deal with the wide variety of cases that come before them.

The Scottish Government will continue to keep sentencing policies and arrangements under review and bring forward proposals for change as appropriate. The Scottish Government recognises that consistency of the approach to sentencing is important and continue to look at ways to provide improved information for sentencers. For example, annual statistics on sentencing patterns of individual courts are collated. The Judicial Studies Committee also provides training in sentencing for new and experienced members of the judiciary.