The Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) is a true lifelong sentence. This means that all individuals sentenced to an OLR will be subject to risk management for the rest of their life. Available only to the high courts in Scotland, the sentence is designed to protect the public from the risk of serious harm.


The MacLean Committee on Serious Violent and Sexual Offenders was established in 1999 by the UK Government. Their remit to consider experience in Scotland and elsewhere and to make proposals for the sentencing disposals for, and the future management and treatment of, serious sexual and violent offenders who may present a continuing danger to the public. One of its conclusions was:

“We consider that a new sentence should be introduced, to provide for lifelong control of the offenders with whom we are concerned. This sentence would largely replace the use of the current discretionary life sentence, and would be based on a thorough risk assessment.”

This led to the introduction of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2003. This established the Risk Management Authority (RMA) and a new sentence called the Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR). The OLR became available to the High Court in 2006. This is important to note, as the OLR has to be compliant with Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights; the right to liberty and security of the person, and that liberty can only be deprived in certain situations and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law.


Our work remit includes specific responsibilities to oversee and administer this unique sentence in Scotland, we:

  • Produce evidence-based Standards and Guidelines for Risk Assessment and Management to support partners working across criminal justice in consistent risk practice.
  • Accredit risk assessors to undertake Risk Assessment Reports (RAR)
  • Evaluate and approve Risk Management Plans (RMP)
  • Evaluate Annual Implementation Reports (AIR)
  • Provide independent practical advice and highlight the value of quality assurance
  • Provide training to increase confidence and competence in risk assessment and management
  • Publish research in the field of risk assessment and management
  • Promote effective practice to make sure decisions are defensible, and processes are administered with integrity
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