Chairmans covering letter by etssetcf


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									31 May 2006

Dear Colleague,


I enclose the Panel’s consultation paper reviewing the effect of the Council
guideline on the reduction to be given following a guilty plea. This was one of the
first to be published (December 2004) and has been effective for all cases
sentenced on or after 10 January 2005.

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 requires the Sentencing Guidelines Council to
consider from time to time whether guidelines need revision. The Council
undertook a review of existing guidelines at the beginning of May and decided that
it would be timely to conduct a formal review of this guideline for the reasons set
out in paragraph 2 of the consultation paper. The Panel was asked to undertake
the review as a matter of urgency. I am delighted that we have been able to
publish a consultation paper so quickly and very much hope that you will be able
to consider the issues that are raised.

Although this guideline has been in force for less than 18 months, it is in use in
every court in the country on almost every day that criminal cases are dealt with.
Therefore, there is already a wealth of practical experience to draw on.

May I emphasise the importance of the request set out in paragraph 3 of the
consultation paper. The Panel wishes to ensure that the responses to the
consultation reflect the views of all who are called upon to use the guideline and
views that no change is required will be as important as those that suggest that
changes are needed.

The Panel is very interested in your views on the key issues identified but also on
any other aspect of the guideline. There are questions at the appropriate part of
the text and these are brought together at the end of the document also for ease
of reference. Please feel free to send in responses to all of the questions or to
those most relevant to your area of work or interest.

Please send your response to Mrs Lesley Dix, Secretary to the Panel, at the
Sentencing Guidelines Secretariat, either by post to 1st Floor, 85 Buckingham
Gate, London SW1E 6PD, or by email to

Responses should be received by 25 August 2006.

The names of those who respond to this consultation paper will be listed in the
Panel's published advice to the Sentencing Guidelines Council. Responses are
not routinely published but, in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, the Panel is required to release copies on request. If
anonymity is required, respondents should make that clear in their

Yours sincerely,

Professor Martin Wasik
Chairman of the Sentencing Advisory Panel

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