Judgement of Death Act 1823

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The Judgement of Death Act 1823 (c.48; repealed) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (although it did not apply to Scotland). Passed at a time when there were over 200 offences in English law which carried a mandatory sentence of death, it gave judges the discretion to pass a lesser sentence for the first time. It did not apply to treason or murder. The Act actually required judges to enter a sentence of death on the court record, but then allowed them to commute the sentence to imprisonment.

The Act was repealed by the Courts Act 1971[1] (repealed in 1980 in Northern Ireland). Since piracy with violence was still a capital crime, this had the (presumably unintended) effect of making the death penalty for that offence mandatory again, until the death penalty was abolished in 1998.

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  1. ^ Courts Act 1971, Schedule 11: Repeals, Part IV