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Sentencing Act 2020


The Sentencing Act 2020 is a significant piece of legislation enacted by the United Kingdom Parliament, aimed at reforming and modernising the sentencing framework within the country’s criminal justice system. The Act introduces reforms to the sentencing process, providing greater clarity, consistency, and transparency in the UK criminal justice system. It seeks to ensure that sentences are proportionate, effective, and fair, while also addressing public safety concerns.

The Sentencing Act 2020:

  • aims to provide clearer guidance to judges and magistrates when determining sentences, ensuring more consistent outcomes;
  • seeks to establish a clear framework for considering relevant factors, such as the seriousness of the offence and the culpability of the offender;
  • emphasises the importance of public protection by introducing provisions for imposing appropriate sentences to address the risk posed by certain offenders;
  • aims to balance the rights of offenders with the need to protect the public, especially in cases involving serious or violent crimes;
  • promotes the rehabilitation of offenders by providing mechanisms to encourage their reintegration into society and reduce the likelihood of reoffending; and
  • encourages the use of community-based sentences, restorative justice approaches, and offender rehabilitation programs.

The Sentencing Act 2020 was passed on the 22nd of October 2020.

The Sentencing Act 2022 applies to the following countries:

  • United Kingdom; 
  • England; 
  • Scotland; 
  • Wales; and 
  • Northern Ireland. 

Does the Sentencing Act 2020 affect my business?

The Sentencing Act 2020 primarily focuses on reforms and provisions within the criminal justice system rather than directly targeting businesses. However, businesses can be indirectly affected by the Act in the following ways:

  • Corporate Offenses and Liability: The Act may impact businesses through provisions related to corporate offenses and liability. It establishes clearer guidelines for determining the penalties and sentences imposed on businesses found guilty of offences such as corporate fraud, health and safety breaches, environmental violations, or financial misconduct.
  • Compliance and Risk Management: The Act reinforces the importance of compliance and risk management for businesses. With a greater emphasis on public protection and proportionate sentencing, businesses need to ensure they have robust systems in place to prevent and detect criminal activity, mitigate risks, and maintain compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
  • Reputation and Public Perception: The Act’s focus on transparency and public protection may have implications for a business’s reputation and public perception. Businesses found guilty of serious offences or misconduct could face reputational damage, which may impact customer trust, investor confidence, and stakeholder relationships.
  • Collaboration with Law Enforcement: The Act promotes cooperation between businesses and law enforcement agencies in addressing criminal activities. Businesses may be expected to collaborate with authorities during investigations, provide evidence, or implement measures to prevent and report criminal behaviour within their operations.
  • Ethical and Responsible Business Practices: The Act aligns with the broader societal expectations of ethical and responsible business practices. Businesses that prioritise compliance, ethical conduct, and proactive risk management are likely to be better positioned to mitigate legal and reputational risks associated with criminal offences.

It is important for businesses to stay informed about the provisions and guidelines outlined in the Sentencing Act 2020 to ensure they operate within the boundaries of the law, maintain ethical standards, and proactively manage any potential risks associated with criminal activities.

Do I need the Sentencing Act 2020 in my ISO Compliance Register?

All business types will need to have the Sentencing Act 2020 in their ISO Compliance Register.

The Sentencing Act 2020 applies to all businesses operating within the United Kingdom. Its provisions and guidelines are designed to establish a consistent framework for sentencing within the criminal justice system. Therefore, businesses across various industries and sectors can be subject to the Act’s provisions if they are involved in criminal offences falling within its scope.

The Act does not specifically target or differentiate between specific types of businesses. Instead, it focuses on offenses committed by individuals or organizations, including corporations. The Act’s application depends on the nature of the offence and the involvement of the business in question.

Businesses of all sizes, from small enterprises to large corporations, can be affected by the Act if they are found guilty of offenses that fall within its scope. These offences may include, but are not limited to, corporate fraud, health and safety breaches, environmental violations, financial misconduct, or any other criminal activity covered by the Act.

It is important for businesses to be aware of their legal obligations, maintain compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and implement effective risk management and compliance frameworks to mitigate potential criminal liability under the Sentencing Act 2020.

Legislation related to the Sentencing Act 2020

Legislation related to the Sentencing Act 2020 include:

  • Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001
  • Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022
  • Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • Police Act 1997
  • Counter-Terrorism Act 2008

More information

Visit the Sentencing Act 2020 on the website.

Create an account in the ISO Compliance Register App and add this article to your Register.