Sentencing and costs


1. This section provides guidance in the following areas:-

  • Preparing for a sentencing hearing
  • The sentencing hearing and imposing the sentence
  • Prosecution Costs
  • Penalties

2. Most health and safety cases can be dealt with in the magistrates' court or the Crown Court.  The prosecution has an important role in the allocation of cases by making appropriate submissions as to where it believes a case should be heard. See the earlier section on Plea before venue and allocation for guidance on venue.

3. Most of the principles in this section apply equally to sentencing hearings in the magistrates' and Crown Courts.  Any differences will be highlighted in the text.

The purposes of sentencing

4. When determining an appropriate sentence for a person convicted of a criminal offence, including a health and safety offence, courts are required to have regard to the following purposes of sentencing (Criminal Justice Act 2003, section 142)

  • The punishment of offenders;
  • The reduction of crime (including its reduction by deterrence). A sentence may act as a deterrent against reoffending to the convicted duty holder and as a general deterrence to other duty holders;
  • The reform and rehabilitation of offenders. In aiming to avoid similar punishments in the future, convicted duty holders will be motivated to improve their health and safety procedures;
  • The protection of the public. A sentence may be intended to incapacitate the defendant so as to prevent him/her committing any further crime (see, for example, disqualification orders); and
  • The making of reparation by offenders to persons affected by their offences. For example, a sentence may be used to compensate the victim (see compensation orders).

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Updated 2021-08-27