ROBERT Buckland has spoken of his plans to tidy up the country’s complex sentencing laws following his appointment as justice minister.

Judges currently have to put up with with more than 1,300 pages of convoluted and overlapping law – making it difficult to apply this consistently and causing delays to the justice process.

A new Sentencing Code aims to bring greater clarity, reduce the number of errors and make sentencing hearings more efficient.

The Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill introduced by the South Swindon MP to parliament yesterday will make technical amendments and remove historic, now redundant, layers of legislation to pave the way for the code.

Mr Buckland, who was the government’s solicitor general until his appointment as minister of state this month, said: “It is vital that judges have complete clarity when making sentencing decisions, so we want to do all we can to reduce the complexity of the law, some of which is centuries old.

“This is something that as a barrister and part-time judge that I have long recognised as an issue and that I am pleased to be able to introduce this reform

“This bill will pave the way for the Sentencing Code, simplifying the statute book and helping the public to better understand the sentencing process.”

This ‘clean sweep’ to sentencing procedural law will allow for all offenders convicted after the code comes into force to receive punishments according to the most up-to-date law, irrespective of when they committed the offence.

Exceptions will make sure no offender is handed a greater penalty than was available at the time their offence was committed.