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Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000

Section 60: Life sentences: tariffs

137.This Section changes the way tariffs are set in cases of detention during Her Majesty’s pleasure. It provides for the sentencing court, rather than the Home Secretary, to do so in future and replaces the tariff setting aspects of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 with separate provision in the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. The tariff will continue to represent the minimum period that must be served before a case can be referred to the Parole Board to consider release. The period set by the court will be open to appeal by the offender or referral by the Attorney General if he considers it unduly lenient.

138.The effect of this provision is to bring the law into compliance with the conclusions of the European Court of Human Rights in the cases of T v. UK and V v. UK. There the Court found, amongst other things, that it was not compatible with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights for the Home Secretary to set tariffs in cases of detention during Her Majesty’s pleasure.

139.As a result of the change contained in this Section, the arrangements for setting tariffs in these cases will be the same as those that currently apply to offenders serving discretionary life sentences. The Parole Board is already responsible for determining release, following tariff expiry, in respect of both groups of offender.

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