Sentencing guidelines are non-binding guidelines that inform sentencing in law. By contrast, mandatory sentencing sets legal parameters, typically minimums, for sentences.
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with common law and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject
. (December 2014)
In the United States federal courts system, Federal Sentencing Guidelines apply to federal judges adjudicating cases in federal court.
In England and Wales, the Sentencing Council (formerly the Sentencing Guidelines Council) sets sentencing guidelines, and in Scotland the Scottish Sentencing Council holds this responsibility.