Four models of judicial reasoning in sentencing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The passing of sentence by a judge on a convicted offender comprises the most public stage of the criminal justice process, but how do judges go about this task? In particular, how does the judge arrive at a sentence that adequately reflects the seriousness of the crime and the circumstances of the individual offender, whilst still taking account of the interests of society? This article reviews the sentencing methodology used in various common law jurisdictions, from discretionary-based approaches to the use of presumptively binding, numerical guidelines. It
concludes that justice is best served by an approach that achieves individualisation in sentencing through the use of a wide, but guided, judicial discretion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-73
Number of pages19
JournalIrish Judicial Studies Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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