§ Bob Russell
To ask the Solicitor General (1) what guidance is given to magistrates courts on the circumstances in which a driving ban should not be imposed on a motorist who has committed a criminal offence where an automatic disqualification is the normal outcome; in what circumstances a court is given discretion not to impose a ban; and what plans she has to remove the discretionary powers available to the courts. 
(2) what guidance is given to magistrates courts and crown courts on the circumstances in which driving bans should not be imposed on motorists who have accumulated sufficient points for disqualification; in what circumstances a court is given discretion not to impose a ban; what plans she has to remove the discretionary powers available to the courts; and if she will make a statement. 74W
§ The Solicitor-General
[holding answer 15 January 2003]In September 2000 the Magistrates' Association implemented its most recent guidance to Magistrates on sentencing. This is a wide ranging document covering various aspects of the Magistrates' sentencing powers. However the guidance it provides in relation to the issues raised in the questions is limited.
Although it states what the law is it does not necessarily specify in detail how it should be exercised in differing circumstances.
The main source of guidance for the Magistrates is the relevant statute and case law.
The current system provides a degree of flexibility to the Courts and allows for sentences to be appropriate to each individual case. There are no plans to remove the discretionary powers available to the courts in this area.