Adult Court Bench Book and Pronouncement Builder

CriminalBench Book

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The Adult Court Bench Book (ACBB) provides guidance for magistrates who sit in the adult court dealing mainly with defendants aged 18 or over. It is used for reference at court and to support consistent training.

The Bench Book is supplemented by national sentencing guidelines, checklists and pronouncement cards, available via the Pronouncement Builder. These help magistrates undertake the task of decision making in a fair and structured manner. The Adult Court Pronouncement Builder assists magistrates to explain their decisions fully and clearly.

The latest edition of the ACBB (dated May 2023) has been updated to reflect:

  • The increase in surcharge amounts
  • The abolition of Individual Support Orders
  • The changes in curfew requirement hours
  • The ‘pause’ on magistrates’ increased sentencing powers
  • The changes to the youth remand provisions introduced by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022
  • The Senior Presiding Judge’s direction regarding not listing applications for warrants to install pre-paid meters.

In addition, where possible, hyperlinks have been included.

The latest update to the Adult Court Pronouncement Cards (ACPC) (dated January 2023) includes amendments to the pronouncements for sexual risk and sexual harm prevention orders and remands to youth detention. New cards have been added to cover the recently introduced hare coursing provisions.

Please note: The PDF format of the ACPCs is being discontinued. From 15 May 2023, pronouncement wording will only be available via the Pronouncement Builder on the Sentencing Council website.