Are there any countries, where currently, a sentence cannot be appealed by the prosecution's side for being unduly lenient?

For example, someone is given a year suspended sentence for burglary, and cannot be re-sentenced at a later date to a harsher sentence as the judge was too lenient.

This is a free answer, it can apply to any countries irrespective of their legal systems, so long as it is still the case today.

  • This was the traditional position at common law. As Barwick CJ noted in Peel v The Queen (1971) 125 CLR 447, Crown rights of appeal against sentence "are neither traditional nor were they in 1932 exampled in the legislation or practice of the United Kingdom" and "cut across time-honoured concepts of criminal administration."
    – sjy
    Mar 7, 2023 at 17:11
  • @sjy Sorry I struggled to understand that - are you saying that the traditional position in common law countries was sentences could not be appealed by the prosecution as being unduly lenient? Mar 12, 2023 at 21:29
  • Also - if that still applies today in Australia (I am guessing it is Australian law by the link) could you please post this as an answer so I can accept it? Mar 12, 2023 at 21:36
  • No, this is no longer the law in Australia (or any other common law jurisdiction I am familiar with). So I can't answer the question with the stipulation that "it is still the case today," but yes, the common law did not allow the prosecution (or indeed the defence) to appeal a sentence, until appeal rights were granted by legislation in each jurisdiction in the 20th century.
    – sjy
    Mar 13, 2023 at 3:04

1 Answer 1


It is a general principle in proper legal system that nobody may be tried twice for the same offense. This is known as double jeopardy. When it comes to the details, there are two things to be kept in mind:

  • What is the same offense? In some legal systems, it is possible to sue somebody who was acquitted of murder for wrongful death. A civil trial, with different standards of proof. Closer to double jeopardy, the same offense may lead to separate state and federal charges in the US.
  • What is tried twice or rather tried once? Many jurisdictions assume that one trial ends only when all sides exhaust their possible appeals or decide not the file them before the deadline.
  • There is also the issue of mistrials and a repeat from the start.

So it would be generally unacceptable if the prosecution simply starts another trial because they dislike the first result. The prosecution may, however, refuse to stop their trial prematurely when they think that they have appeals left.

As a rough approximation, the English-derived common law system is stronger on having an acquittal in the first round being final, while the French-derived code civil system allows more appeals to the prosecution.

  • 4
    I don't think the question has to do with a trial, but rather sentencing. In the US, after a defendant is found guilty and a sentence imposed, the defense can appeal for a lesser sentence, and the prosecution can appeal for a greater sentence. The question asks whether there's countries where such a prosecution appeal is prohibited.
    – user71659
    Mar 7, 2023 at 8:04
  • 1
    @user71659 ditto for the UK - alleged unduly lenient or harsh sentences can be appealled by either the prosection or defence.
    – user35069
    Mar 7, 2023 at 9:22
  • 2
    @o.m. I think you missed the point of the question
    – user35069
    Mar 7, 2023 at 9:24
  • @user71659 Yes, that is what I wanted to know and I still have not had anybody answer. As Rick said in the United Kingdom the prosecution can appeal the sentence for being too soft under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme. Mar 12, 2023 at 21:32
  • @user5623335, in Germany, the prosecution can appeal because they think the sentence is inappropriate. They then have to explain where they think the court erred, and an appeals court looks into it.
    – o.m.
    Mar 13, 2023 at 5:13

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