Youth Sentencing Explanations: The English Judicial perspective on legitimacy

Dr Max Lowenstein1

1Bournemouth University, Bournemouth , UK

Globally, judiciaries are moving towards enhanced sentencing transparency (clarity) with the increased publication of their sentencing explanations as written narratives or videos online. With this comes a global opportunity for them to engage with the public whom they serve and for academics to further explore comparative questions about judicial degrees of understanding, accountability, composition (equality) and legal (sentencing) processes? If the global trend continues, the shift towards even greater public transparency by judiciaries flirting with social media, may become more and more the norm. To gain a snapshot from the British perspective, this paper qualitatively explores the English judicial approach towards their sentence explanations via their remarks within the Magistrates’ Youth Court. First, the extent of their correlation with the three known purposes behind sentence explanations are considered, within a wider introductory discussion. Second, judicial interviews provide new insights regarding the extent of their alignment with the introductory discussion, by indicating degrees of correlation. Third, the English judicial approach towards their sentence explanations and degrees of correlation are concluded upon. Finally, recommendations are made to assist our better understanding of sentencing explanations globally, particularly in jurisdictions where their publication has been increasing.


Max Lowenstein is a socio-legal academic and law lecturer with a passion for exploring comparative criminal justice. His research/teaching interest areas include: Criminal Law Comparative Law Sentencing Law Evidence Law Public Law Legal Practice skills Jurisprudence.


Dec 09 2021