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Sentencing guidelines for terrorism offences published

The Sentencing Council has published updated sentencing guidelines (external link) for terrorism offences in England and Wales following consultation.

The new guidelines, which will come into effect on 1 October 2022, update the current guidelines published in 2018 to reflect changes brought in by the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 and the Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act 2021.

Revisions to the Preparation of terrorist acts and Explosive substances (terrorism only) guidelines include:

  • new guidance for judges sentencing offenders who meet the criteria for a ‘serious terrorism sentence’. This is a new type of sentence that carries a minimum penalty of 14 years’ custody unless exceptional circumstances apply; and
  • new guidance and principles for judges to follow when considering whether there may be exceptional circumstances that justify a departure from that sentence.

The guidelines published today result from two consultations. Between October and December 2019, the Council consulted on amendments to the 2018 terrorism guidelines to reflect changes made by the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019. Publication of the resulting revised guidelines was delayed, however, because further terrorism legislation was already in development.

The Counter-Terrorism and Sentencing Act came into force in April 2021, making significant changes to the legislation, including increasing the statutory maximum sentences for some offences. The Council held a second consultation on draft revisions to reflect these changes. The responses to that consultation have now been considered and both sets of revisions are being published together.

The full range of guidelines that have been revised are listed below (all external links):

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