This project considered whether there is a need to establish a Sentencing Council in New Zealand, and whether parole should be reformed to ensure a closer relationship between the prison sentence imposed and time served.
Terms of reference
The Law Commission has been asked to consider:
- The advantages of providing greater guidance to judges on the exercise of their sentencing discretion, and appropriate mechanisms for achieving this (including whether New Zealand would benefit from the establishment of a body such as the UK Sentencing Guidelines Council);
- The extent to which such guidance can serve as an instrument to enable prison muster issues to be managed more effectively; and
- Whether the parole eligibility component of prison sentences requires adjustment to ensure a closer relationship between the nominal sentence imposed and the actual time served.
Reforms to the Sentencing and Parole Structure: Consultation Draft (NZLC PP0, 2006)
This Paper, Reforms to the Sentencing and Parole Structure: Consultation Draft (NZLC PP0, 2006) – essentially an unpublished Preliminary Paper – was distributed to stakeholders in April 2006, to solicit their views on our proposed sentencing and parole reforms. As a result of that feedback, many changes were made. A final Report has since been issued.
Sentencing Guidelines and Parole Reform (NZLC R94, 2006)
The Commission’s Report, Sentencing Guidelines and Parole Reform (NZLC R94, 2006).
Regional Analysis of Variations in District Court sentencing (NZLC MP0, 2006)
As part of its sentencing and parole project, the Law Commission engaged corporate finance and economics experts Taylor Duignan Barry to undertake an analysis of current New Zealand sentencing practice. We wanted to assess the degree of variation, if any, between court districts, to find out whether anecdotal evidence of inconsistent sentencing approaches was substantiated empirically. This resulted in the Commission's Miscellaneous Paper, Regional Analysis of Variations in District Court sentencing (NZLC MP0, 2006).
Some of the Commission’s recommendations were included in the Criminal Justice Reform Act 2007.
There was no requirement for the Government to present a formal response to Commission reports before April 2009.