English Legal System

Sentencing (2): AdultsGuard locking a prison cell

By the end of this unit you will be able to (AO1):

  • Understand the different kinds of custodial sentences available for adults
  • Explain the other sentences which an adult offender may receive.

You will also be able to (AO2):

  • Apply your understanding of the sentences to a range of scenarios.

Your handout is available here: Adult Sentences and the slides are below:

Your article on sentencing the whole life tariff offenders is available here:

Oh, and in the interest of recent law decisions, you should be aware that the ECtHR has recently decided that they do breach human rights and amount to ‘inhumane and degrading treatment’… take a look at this.

The recent changes to the law under LASPO are considered below… (really useful for those pesky AO2 evaluation questions…)


 Sentencing (1): Theories

  By the end of this unit you will be able to (AO1):

  • Explain the theories of sentencing and illustrate them with examples.
  • Understand what is meant by the terms ‘mitigating’ and ‘aggravating’ factors.
  • Describe the particular effect a plea of guilty may have on the sentencing of D.

You will also be able to evaluate (AO2):

  • The effectiveness of the theories in reducing crime.
  • The more recent changes to the law on guilty pleas.

The handout on the topic is here: Theories2013 and the slides are below:

To assess your understanding, you will also complete the following timed essay (no plan this time!):

Describe the aims and factors taken into account in sentencing an offender [18]

Developing your AO2:

A couple of years ago, the then Justice Minister (Ken Clarke) wanted to include a reduction of up to 50% for pleading guilty. Take a look at the following article and respond: what are the arguments for and against?

By the end of this unit, you will be able to explain [A01]:

  • What is meant by ‘bail’
  • The rules governing the operation of bail within the criminal law
  • What a plea before venue is & how it operates.
  • When a mode of trial hearing will be necessary, and the rules governing it.
  • What the jurisdiction of Magistrates’ Courts and Crown Courts at first instance are.

You will also be able to discuss [AO2]:

  • The criteria for granting bail, and whether they adequately balance the rights of the individual to be at liberty, and
  • The differences between the trial courts, and the advantages and disadvantages of opting for each court.

So, let’s start with bail! The slides (no handout for this one!) are here: Bail & Pretrial

Then, your How much do you know Bail EoU starter (can you actually remember everything you’ve been taught?!) is here, with the gaps to check you actually do know what’s going on here: Bail fill in sheet and the sample essay for you to improve is also available here (Bail example essay) and then a plan to make yours outstanding…Bail EoU Essay Plan (timed)

Now on to pre-trial procedure. The handout for the topic is with the bail one, so don’t get too excited!, and the slides are also above… and if you fancy throwing things around to evaluate them, the snowballs are here: Snowballing your discussion (Pre trial)

And finally… the plan for your end of unit assessment is also here

Police Powers: Detention

By the end of this (final unit!) you will be able to [AO1]:

  • Describe the powers of the police to detain someone if they have been lawfully arrested.
  • Explain the rights of the individual during detention.
  • Understand how interviews should be conducted and the operation of safeguards.
  • Describe how and when samples and searches may be conducted.

You should also be able to evaluate [A02]:

  • Whether the powers of detention issued to the police are sufficient.
  • How interviews operate and the criticisms associated with it.
  • Whether the individual’s rights are sufficiently protected by the current rules on searches and retention of sample.

So, we are going to start by looking at the powers in action. We’ve looked at the episode of Coppers, which is available for you to view below:

And there is some further information below:

The handout is available here: Detention Handout 2012 and the PowerPoint from lessons is also available here:

Police Powers: Arrest

By the end of this unit you will be able to [AO1]:

  • Explain when the police can arrest an individual with a warrant.
  • Explain when the police can arrest an individual without a warrant under PACE
  • Understand how the common law powers of arrest for breach of the peace operate.
  • Describe the manner in which the police should conduct the arrest.

You should also be able to evaluate [AO2]:

  • The effectiveness of the controls imposed on arrest by PACE and Code A.
  • Whether the powers of arrest adequately balance the right to investigate and protect against the need to protect individual rights.

So, the basics… the handout is available here if you want your own copy! Arrest 2014 and the PowerPoint is below in case you want to check anything.

I’d give you the triangles of doom, but these are tarsia, so will not be accessible unless you have the programme on your computer! So just think triangular thoughts…


Police Powers: Stop and Search

By the end of this unit you should be able to [AO1]:

  • describe when the police can stop and search under PACE
  • explain the safeguards on these powers
  • describe some of the other statutory powers to stop and search

In addition, you should be able to evaluate [AO2]

  • Whether the rights of the individual are adequately balanced against the need to give the police effective investigative powers.

This is the first of three sets of investigatory powers we will look at this year, and you need to be able to both evaluate and apply the law. This means that you will need write in accurate detail about the topic.

The handout for the topic this year is available here: S&S 2014 and the PowerPoint is below.

In addition, when looking at the evaluation of these powers, and whether or not they are used effectively, the following articles make for very useful reading:

There is also a really good look at the current use of the powers of stop and search and summary of their use available from the Police Foundation (available here) which may of use for you – especially if you want a bit more detail!

If you want to look at the whole of Code A, it is available here.

In addition, the lovely ‘do-you-know-your-stuff’ Stop and Search Dominoes   are here! And the feedback with guidance on the stop and search end of unit assessment is here: S&S feeback sheet


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