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Sentencing Guidelines Committee

Update on the Committee's work

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 Rory MacCabe
  • Judge Melanie Greally
  • 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.