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Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee

Update on the Committee's work

14th March 2022   Report on Methodological Approaches to Sentencing Data and Analysis

The Committee published the Second Interim Report prepared by the University of Strathclyde as part of a project entitled “Assessing Methodological Approaches to Sentencing Data Collection and Analysis”. This second report provides a review and analysis of the range of data methodologies adopted in three broadly comparable countries and jurisdictions where a body equivalent to the Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee has been established.

2nd Interim Report.pdf

20th January 2022   Report on Methodological Approaches to Sentencing Data Collection and Analysis

The Committee published the First Interim Report prepared by the University of Strathclyde as part of a project entitled “Assessing Methodological Approaches to Sentencing Data Collection and Analysis”. This first report explores the statistical information necessary to support guideline construction and guideline monitoring. The Committee provided a comprehensive table to the researchers consisting of a brief summary of over 800 Court of Appeal judgments with links to each judgment. This document is also published.

1st Interim Report.pdf       Court of Appeal Sentences ..pdf    Court of Appeal Sentences.xlsx

10th January 2022  Sentencing Information for the General Public

The Committee has prepared a further guide to explain to the general public how sentences are decided upon by the courts for a number of offences.

Sentence Information the General Public.pdf

18th November 2021    Register of Researchers 

The Committee invited applications for inclusion on a Register of qualified persons available for short-term, small-scale research projects for the Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee. Closing date for initial work is 2nd Dec 2021. Applications will be accepted after that date on an ongoing basis for future work. Further details are here Sentencing_Research_-_Register_for_Short-Term_Contracts.docx

29th October 2021 Sentencing Judgments — summary of existing case law in the Irish appellate courts    

The Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee has prepared a document which is intended to summarise the existing case law in the Irish appellate courts in respect of particular offences.

Sentencing Guidelines - Sentencing Judgments.pdf

12th July 2021 

Sentencing Research

The Sentencing Guidelines and Information Committee is pleased to announce that the Judicial Council has entered into a contract with the University of Strathclyde for the purpose of a project entitled “Assessing Methodological Approaches to Sentencing Data Collection and Analysis”.

Meaningful sentencing guidelines are contingent on an in-depth, empirically grounded understanding of sentencing practice. In Ireland, there is limited available data and research on sentencing.
This original research will provide an analysis of existing methodologies for sentencing data collection in Ireland, as well as an evaluation of the utility of methodologies employed in other jurisdictions in assisting the work of the Committee.

The University will conduct research on methodologies for gathering, synthesising and analysing sentencing data which will assist the Committee in the discharge of its functions. It will report to the Committee over the next six months as follows:

Interim Report 1: Literature review of existing sentencing methodologies and data
Interim Report 2: Literature review of sentencing methodologies and best practice
Interim Report 3: Recommendations for data collection and analysis
Final Report

The University's research team is as follows

Professor Cyrus Tata, Centre for Law, Crime & Justice, Law School University of Strathclyde, Scotland
Tom O’Malley, National University of Ireland at Galway, and Barrister, Ireland
Professor Julian Roberts, Centre for Criminological Research, University of Oxford, and former Member of the Sentencing Council of England & Wales
Dr Jay Gormley, Centre for Law, Crime & Justice, Law School University of Strathclyde, Scotland
Professor Cassia Spohn, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University, USA
 

The Functions

The functions of the Committee shall be to:

  • prepare and submit to the Board for its review draft sentencing guidelines,

  • prepare and submit to the Board for its review draft amendments to sentencing guidelines adopted by the Council,

  • monitor the operation of sentencing guidelines,

  • collate, in such manner as it considers appropriate, information on sentences imposed by the Courts, and

  • disseminate that information from time to time to judges and persons other than judges.

The Committee

The Committee is comprised of the following 13 members:

  • Eight judges nominated by the Chief Justice, which includes one judge from each of the 5 jurisdictions

  • Five lay members appointed by Government.

The members of the Committee are as follows:

  • Ms Justice Iseult O'Malley (Chair)
  • Mr Justice John Edwards
  • Mr Justice Tony Hunt
  • Mr Justice Paul Coffey
  • Ms Justice Tara Burns
  • Judge Keenan Johnson
  • Judge Francis Comerford
  • Judge Paula Murphy
  • Mr Vivian Geiran
  • Dr Diarmuid Griffin
  • Mr Michael O'Sullivan
  • Ms Marianne O'Kane
  • Dr Sinéad Ring

The Judicial Council Act provides that the Judicial Council nominate a date for establishment of this Committee at its first meeting. The date was fixed by the Council as the 30th of June 2020 and the Committee held its first meeting on the 28th of July 2020.