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Challenge an Unduly Lenient Sentence

Lenient or 'unduly' low sentences may be valid grounds to ask for a Crown Court sentence to be reviewed. Follow these steps if you think a sentence is too low and find out how it may involve the Court of Appeal.

GET A SENTENCE REVIEWED: If you challenge the decision, it would be the Attorney General’s Office that reviews a very low sentence.

Upon request, the office may look into a case with a sentence handed out by the Crown Court in England and Wales. But, they will only review certain types of cases, such as:

  • Child cruelty and some child sex crimes.
  • Crimes committed due to the race or religion of the victim.
  • Robbery, rape, murder, and some terror-related offences.
  • The most serious drug crimes and fraud activities.

Note: There is no legal requirement to be a person involved in the case to ask for a Crown Court sentence to be reviewed. Cases can get reviewed even if only one person asks for the review.

Information needed to get a Sentence Reviewed

The Attorney General’s Office is the department that carries out sentence reviews. But, you must make a request within 28 days of the original sentencing. You will need to provide as much information as possible, such as:

  • The full name of the person who got sentenced and the crime they committed.
  • The date that the sentence got handed out.
  • The name and address of the court where the case took place.

Once the Attorney General’s Office receives a request they have 28 days to review the sentence given and then make their decision. Use this information to contact the Attorney General’s Office in the United Kingdom.

Attorney General’s Office
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 020 7271 2492
Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
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Note: The Attorney General’s Office may decide to pass the details over to the Court of Appeal after they finish reviewing the case.

The Court of Appeal

If the Attorney General’s Office send the case to the Court of Appeal, after their deliberations, they may decide that:

  • The sentence was not too low and it should remain unchanged. Thus, it will stay the same.
  • It was an ‘unduly lenient sentence’ (unreasonably low) and they can choose to increase it.
  • The request for a further review has no merits and they can refuse to hear the case altogether.

Note: Passing a case over to the Court of Appeal does not necessarily mean that they will change the sentence.

How to Request a Crown Court Review of an Unduly Lenient Sentence in United Kingdom