In addition, the Commission is requested to consider mandatory sentences in general terms, although the Commission notes that existing legislation that already provides for mandatory sentences in connection with specific offences provides a valuable reference point for the analysis required in response to the request.
The Commission notes that this wide definition of sentence, covering both custodial and non-custodial sanctions and including orders made even where a conviction has not been recorded, is consistent with the general literature on sentencing.
The Attorney Generals request refers to offences without any apparent limitation.
The term sentence has also been given a narrow or a broad interpretation in terms of the sanctioning outcome or outcomes envisaged.
Thus, section 1(1) of the Transfer of Sentenced Persons Act 1995 defines sentence narrowly to mean sentence of imprisonment.
Indeed, the need to look beyond existing examples is directly connected to the Commissions conclusion, already mentioned, that it should examine and review the general principles of sentencing.
This involved the Commission reviewing relevant developments in the literature on sentencing since its 1996 Report on Sentencingin order to provide a framework for analysing a selection of offences, including those for which mandatory sentences are currently provided.
The Commission is currently engaged in the preparation of a Fourth Programme of Law Reform.
The Commission also works on specific matters referred to it by the Attorney General under the 1975 Act.
The Commissions Access to Legislation project makes legislation more accessible online to the public.
This includes the Legislation Directory (an electronically searchable index of amendments to Acts and statutory instruments), a selection of Revised Acts (Acts in their amended form rather than as enacted) and the Classified List of Legislation in Ireland (a list of Acts in force organised under 36 subject-matter headings) to examine and conduct research and, if appropriate, recommend reforms in the law of the State, in relation to the circumstances in which it may be appropriate or beneficial to provide in legislation for mandatory sentences for offences.
The first matter addressed by the Commission in preparing this Report was to determine the scope of the term sentences in the Attorney Generals request.