How Long Does Sentencing take in a Crown Court in the UK?

PUBLISHED ON November 20, 2020

At Hudson Marshall Solicitors in Uxbridge, our criminal defence solicitors field hundreds of questions from defendants and their relatives every month regarding how long it will take to be sentenced in the Crown Court.

Waiting for a sentencing date is extremely challenging for those pleading guilty to a criminal offence, which is why they need the guidance of legal professionals to help them navigate the legal system and ease their anxiety about the possible outcomes.

How Do Criminal Cases Reach the Crown Court?

It goes without saying that it is crucial to contact a criminal defence lawyer as soon as you are arrested, invited to the police station for a voluntary interview, or receive a court summons in the mail. By acting on professional legal advice from the outset, you increase your chances of achieving a favourable outcome overall.

If, after having received thorough and robust legal advice on the strength of the evidence against, you and your chances of success at a trial, you make the decision to enter a guilty plea, and your case is sent to the Crown Court for sentence, the charges will belong to one of 2 categories:

  • Indictable-only offences are some of the most serious offences, including murder, rape and Robbery. All such matters are immediately sent from the Magistrates Court to the Crown Court for trial.
  • Either-Way offences can be sentenced in the Magistrates Court, but will be committed to sentence at the Crown Court, if the sentencing powers of the Magistrates Court are insufficient. This includes charges of ABH, sexual assault or fraud.

How Long Does Sentencing Take in the Crown Courts?

If the defendant enters a guilty plea at the first appearance at the Magistrates Court, and the case is sent to the Crown Court for sentence, it is likely to take between 4 to 6 weeks before your final sentence. Your lawyers may request that a pre-sentence report is made by the Probation Service.

Pre-sentence reports

A pre-sentence report (PSR) is an expert assessment of the nature and causes of an offender’s behaviour, the risk they pose and to whom, as well as an independent recommendation of the sentencing option(s) available to the court.

A PSR assists the court when they may be considering a community or custodial sentence for the offender. A PSR must be as objective as possible and for this reason typically consists of:

  • a summary of the facts of the case
  • an expert risk and needs assessment about the individual circumstances of the offender and the offence(s) committed
  • an analysis of the sentencing options, with an independent sentence proposal
  • additional information not presented to the court such as information about the offender and their view of the offence(s) which is obtained by interviewing the offender or through the liaison with other agencies

PSR’s provide the court with a greater understanding of the background and the context of the offending behaviour, rather than just the details of the offence. However, the Judiciary will form an independent view of the most appropriate sentence based on all the evidence they have heard.

How can you learn more about Sentencing in the Crown Court?

Learn more about sentencing in the Crown Court by contacting our legal team at Hudson Marshall Solicitors at 0800 368 9939, and get a free consultation today. Located in Uxbridge, we serve clients in London, the Thames Valley, and across England & Wales.


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If you are being investigated for or have been charged with engaging in criminal activities and are looking for a robust criminal defence solicitor in London for legal advice or representation, Hudson Marshall Solicitors can help. Our criminal defence solicitors have extensive experience in a broad range of issues.

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