Draft Sentencing Guideline on drug offences

07 April 2011

The Justice Select Committee, chaired by Sir Alan Beith, is launching an inquiry on the draft sentencing guideline on drug offences.

The Sentencing Council published the draft guideline for consultation on 28 March 2011.

The Sentencing Council has a statutory duty to consult the Justice Committee and the Committee therefore invites written evidence on the issues set out below (although respondents are welcome to address additional issues):

  • Is the movement from an offender-based to an offence-based starting point helpful?
  • Does the guideline strike the right balance between harm and culpability?
  • What should be the approach to the issue of purity in sentencing?
  • What is the likely impact of the guidelines on victims and the reduction of re-offending?
  • What is the likely impact of the proposed approach to sentences for ‘drug mules’?
  • What is the impact on re-offending of confiscation orders for drug offences?

As the Committee wishes to report back to the Council in line with its timetable for consultation submissions should be received by 25 May 2011.

Call for evidence: Written evidence should be in MS Word (no later than 2007) or rich text format with as little use of colour or logos as possible, and sent by e-mail to

The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address.

The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.
The deadline for submissions is 25 May 2011. Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum and should be no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary.

Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at 

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere, though previously published work can be referred to in a submission and submitted as supplementary material. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee.


The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter or e-mail. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Further information 

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