What 'rules' in sentencing? consistency and disparity in the absence of 'rules'

C. Tata, N. Hutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This paper considers critically the issue of consistency and disparity by examining sentencing in a jurisdiction, Scotland, which has few formal rules governing sentencing practice. First, it briefly outlines the main issues distinctive to the Scottish legal framework on sentencing and then propose reasons why interjudge sentencing disparity both might and might not be expected. It then proceeds to summarize the methodology and findings of a study, initiated by 10 individual sheriffs, to compare their custodial sentencing patterns. The implications of these findings for the roles of, nature of, and relationship between 'rules' and 'knowledge' in sentencing are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-364
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of the Sociology of Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1998


  • sentencing
  • Scotland


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