Discretionary Life Sentences: The Legal and Political Context

Catherine A Appleton

in Life after Life Imprisonment

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582716
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191702341 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Studies in Criminology

Discretionary Life Sentences: The Legal and Political Context

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This chapter examines the development of the discretionary life sentences in England and Wales. It describes the evolution of life sentences for non-homicide offences and the criteria used by the courts, introduces the concept of the ‘tariff’, examines key decisions influencing release procedures and the impact of the European Court of Human Rights, and discusses the process of recall to prison for discretionary lifers.

Keywords: discretionary life sentences; England; Wales; life sentences; non-homicide offences; tariff; European Court of Human Rights; recall; lifers

Chapter.  12872 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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