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Whole-life order

An order mandating that someone sentencing to life imprisonment must spend the entirety of the rest of their life in prison, without becoming eligible to apply for parole.

This is an exception to the general rule under which the judge, when sentencing the offender to life imprisonment, must also specify the minimum term they must actually spend in prison (the ‘tariff’ period) before becoming eligible to apply for parole. If granted parole, the offender is released on licence. However, they may be recalled if they breach the terms of their parole, and returned to prison.

In all cases a life sentence lasts for life, whatever the length of any minimum term.