International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, Vol 27, No 2 (2020)

The framing of judgement by counter: how appraisal analysis of six sentencing remarks provides an insight into judges’ sentencing practices

Xin Dai
Issued Date: 21 May 2021


Studies on sentencing in England and Wales are dominated by normative studies prescribing how judges should sentence. Few examine how judges actually sentence. This article provides an insight into the empirical reality of judges’ sentencing practices by examining how judges use counter to frame their judgement of offenders and their behaviour in six sentencing remarks. The six sentencing remarks were selected to ensure that variations in sentencing decisions of the six cases were, at least to a large extent, subject to judicial discretion. It finds that the statutory point exercises a binding effect on judicial sentencing despite judges having the discretion to disregard the starting point. The finding leads to the further inference that judges might possibly perceive the Court of Appeal and the public as two important audiences for their sentencing remarks.

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DOI: 10.1558/ijsll.40445


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