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Unduly Lenient Scheme

Many people do not know that they can ask for a review of an unduly lenient sentence given to a serious criminal by the Crown Courts even if they are not directly connected to or involved in the case.

In this section you can find out more about:

  1. How to ask for a review of unduly lenient sentences?

  2. Who can ask for a review?

1. How to request a review of unduly lenient sentences? 

Write to the Attorney General's Office (AGO)

The AGO can review low sentences handed down by Crown Courts. This at present has to be done within only 28 days from the day the sentence was given.

Only certain types of cases can be reviewed. These include

  • murder

  • rape

  • robbery

  • some child sex crimes and child cruelty

  • some serious fraud crimes

  • some serious drug crimes

  • some terror-related offences

  • crimes committed because of the victim’s race or religion

If you would like to ask for a review of a sentence handed to an offenders in a Crown Court in England or Wales, you can do so within 28 days of the sentencing in writing to the Attorney General's Office by providing as much information about the particular case as possible, such as:

  • the name of the person who got the sentence

  • what sentence was given

  • date the sentence was given

  • court where the case was held

  • crime committed


2. Who can make an appeal?

Any member of public in the UK can ask the AGO to review a very low sentence that was handed to a serious offender at a criminal court. The person asking for a review does not need to be connected to the case they are asking to be review for leniency.


Attorney General’s Office
Telephone: 020 7271 2492 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Recent examples of such cases where the AGO has increased a sentence after a review can be found in the News & views section of this website.

CPS Guidance to Unduly Lenient Sentences
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