Across the Pond: Sentencing in the United Kingdom

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We like to think the United States has “the greatest system in the world.”  But do we?  There’s simply no way to answer that question until we learn how other countries adjudicate crime.

Helping us get Set for Sentencing is Prof. Julian Roberts, a British scholar, sentencing expert, and Executive Dir. of The Sentencing Academy, UK, dedicated to developing expert and public understanding of sentencing in England and Wales.


  • The UK’s criminal process from charge to sentencing;
  • Why plea bargaining is rare in the UK system;
  • The prevalence of pre-trial detention in the UK;
  • Why non-lawyer magistrates impose 95 percent of sentences in the UK;
  • The length of sentences in the US vs. in the UK;
  • Whether mandatory minimums are a thing in the UK;
  • The history and structure of sentencing guidelines in the U.K.;
  • Application of an case example to illustrate the UK guidelines;
  • Use of sentencing letters, witnesses, victim impact statements and sentencing videos;
  • The catch-22 of “Indeterminate sentences for public protection”;
  • The prevalence of life without parole or “whole life orders” in the UK;
  • Separate sentencing regimes for juveniles, young adults and adults;


The Sentencing Academy, UK

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