Sentencing Law and Practice By Geoff Hall

AuthorJeremy Finn
PositionProfessor of Law, Law School, University of Canterbury
184 C anterbury Law Review [Vol 21, 2015]
* Professor of Law, Law School, Uni versity of Canterbury.
B G H
LN  N Z , 
J  F *
e third edition of Sentencing Law and Practice by Geo Ha ll represents
a portion of a larger loose-leaf and electronic work which has long been seen
as a major reference work for those practising in the criminal law eld. As
the author’s preface makes clear, that book essentially fal ls into two distinct
parts. e rst, about one-third of the total, is a discussion of the principles
of sentencing, while the remainder is an annotated version of the Sentencing
Act 2002. e text is stated to be intended to be used by students and teac hers
of sentencing, and also by lawyers and probation ocers. Unfortunately a
number of faults limit its value to either target audience.
e rst impression is one of sheer size. is edition is well over 1,400
pages, including tables and index.  is bulk must signicantly limit its utility
– and portability – as a practitioner work, while also reducing its appeal as
a textbook. Unfortunately, in many places the bulk of the work appears to
come, not from any need to explain current law coherently and fully, but from
incorporation of material which should have been culled in the prepar ation of
this work or, more importantly, have been brought fu lly up-to-date.
us, for example, in the commentary to the Sentencing Act, t he author
includes material on the levels of penalties imposed under a number of other
statutes. Despite the publisher’s cover description of the third edition as “fully
updated”, this material is largely outdated. e three and a half pages of
notes on Fair Trading Act 1986 are dominated by cases from the 1980s and
1990s and not one case decided after 2008 is included. A few pages later the
discussion of penalties under the Health a nd Safety in Employment Act 1992
has only three case s from after 2008. To be fair, the Resource Management
Act 1991 material, while still rather dated, does contain more recent decisions.
is is far from the only point where old material is reproduced without
apparent consideration of its current utility. e discussion of community
service in the annotations to section 56 of the Sentencing Act is not assisted
by a long discussion focusing on an unreported 1988 decision on community
service under the pre-2002 legislation. Nor is there any real benet in
reproducing a list of examples of minimum periods of imprisonment for
murder under the Criminal Justice Act 1985 in the commentary to s 104
Sentencing Act; where the list follows on an exhaustive recita l of cases post-

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