The Expert Seminar on Proportionality of Sentencing for Drug Offences was an initiative of the Transnational Institute working together with the International Drug Policy Consortium (‘IDPC’) and co-hosted by the Sentencing Council of England and Wales. The seminar was funded by the European Commission and the Open Society Institute and took place in London, England in May 2011.

This seminar is the third in a series of expert discussions on drug policy designed to feed into moments of opportunity for policy and law reform at national and international level with detailed technical analysis and through examples of best-practice from across different jurisdictions. The moment of opportunity in this case was the Sentencing Council’s consultation on sentencing for drug offences which is due to produce definitive sentencing guidelines for England and Wales in the next year.

A total of 31 people attended and comprised a mixture of domestic and international policy officials, the judiciary, and practitioners as well as representatives from non-governmental organisations and academic institutions.

Four themes were covered over the course of the day:

  • Proportionality; the International Human Rights Perspective
  • The UK Experience and Consultation on Sentencing for Drug Offences
  • The Concept of Proportionality with a Focus on Different Levels of Involvement in Drug Offences
  • Drug ‘mules’

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