Skip to main content
School of Law

Consistency and uniformity in sentencing? Guidelines and the role of public opinion

17 September 2014

Time: 6:00 - 8:30pm

Uniformity can fairly easily be achieved through guidelines (the same sentence for the same crime at different places and in different times) but consistency (i.e. proportionality, looking at crimes in the round) is more difficult to achieve. Within narrowly defined crime types, it is easy for guidelines to establish a consistent approach to crimes of different severity, but it is conceptually a struggle to achieve consistency across crime types. How can compare levels of severity in cases of sexual abuse and level of severity in cases of robbery? Is there a role of public opinion in establishing consistency and proportionality? We will additionally consider whether sufficient regard is had to the aims of sentencing when considering the various guidelines applicable in the magistrates’ court.


  • Professor Mike Hough, Professor of Criminal Policy at Birkbeck, University of London, and Associate Director at the Institute for Criminal Policy Research

His current research interests include: procedural justice theory; public perceptions of crime and justice; sentencing; and crime measurement.  Professor Hough has published extensively, with around 250 publications.

  • His Honour Judge Jonathan Black

Qualified as a solicitor in 1980 and appointed to first Clerkship (NE Hampshire) in 1989. By 2000 was Clerk to the Justices for Hampshire & Isle of Wight. Sat as a deputy District Judge (Magistrates Courts) and as a Recorder between 2005 and 2010. Appointed as a Circuit judge in July 2010. Since appointment, has sat as a Judge at Basildon Crown Court.

Work on his his multi-volume history of punishment continues and he teaches at graduate level. He is a member of the Queen Mary Senate. Involved with the magistracy for more than forty years. First at Sussex University as a trainer (East and West Sussex) and then for sixteen years as a magistrate at Thames and Cambridge. Professor McConville has published widely on punishment.

How to Book

This event is by invitation only. 


For more information on this event, please email

Photography, video and audio recording

Please note that Department of Law events may be photographed or video and audio recorded. These materials will be used for internal and external promotional purposes only by Queen Mary University of London. If you object to appearing in the photographs, please let our photographer know on the day. Alternatively you can email in advance of the event that you are attending.

Back to top