The Attorney General's Office may seek harsher sentences for Stephen Lawrence's convicted murderers, after the two men found guilty for the 1993 murder were handed lesser jail terms because they were under 18 at the time.

Gary Dobson, 36, and David Norris, 35, were handed life sentences on 4 January, for the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence 18 years ago.

Dobson will serve a minimum jail terms of 15 years two months, while Norris will serve 14 years three months.

Aware that he may face accusations of leniency, Mr Justice Treacy, who was presiding over the trial, acknowledged that the sentences are "lower than some might expect" but he was "constrained" by legislation that says the two must be sentenced in accordance with the laws that applied at the time of the murder.

Doreen Lawrence, Stephen's mother, also said the sentences "may seem low" but that the "judge's hands were tied".

Now after a request from the public the Attorney General's Office has confirmed it is looking at whether to refer the case to the Court of Appeal, in a bid to have harsher sentences imposed on the two murderers.

Section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 empowers the Attorney General to refer cases to the appeal courts if the sentencing of an individual appears to have been "unduly lenient".

They have 28 days to make the referral.

Of the 77 sentence referrals in 2010, 60 were increased.