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Age of criminal responsibility: no more prosecution of under 12s in Scotland

2011 March 28
by Mary Munro


“Age concern? “ Scottish Sun

Following posted on 14.6.10

“Revealed: 45% rise in under–8s committing offences” Herald
“Child crime needs sensitive measures” Herald

Following posted on 16.3.10

“Don’t treat children like Bulger killers as criminals, says ‘tsar’” Scotsman
“Backing for call to raise age of criminal responsibility” Times

Following posted on 07.09.09

“Youth crime: ‘We must not tar the law–abiding majority’” Scotsman

Following posted on 02.03.09

“Age of criminal responsibility in Scotland raised to 12” Herald
“Criminal responsibility age to rise from 8 to 12” Scotsman
“Age of criminality to be raised to 12” Times
“Age of criminal responsibility will rise to 12” Scotland on Sunday
“Prosecution of children to end” STV
“In quotes: Criminal age proposals” BBC
“Scots criminal age to go up to 12” BBC
“Age of criminal responsibility to rise to 12”
“Age of criminal responsibility to be raised” Press and Journal

Following posted on 08.01.09

“Age of criminal responsibility could be raised from eight to 12” Daily Record
“Youth crime divide” Press and Journal
“Scottish ministers rule out criminal responsibility at 14” Press and Journal
“A largely symbolic act, but at least it’s a start” Times

Following posted on 07.01.09

“No More Primary School Criminals” Daily Record
“Criminals’ age move slammed” Evening Express
“Shock as cops catch vandals … aged three” Evening Times
“Top police officer backs move to raise age of criminal responsibility” Herald
“Is it right to raise age of criminal responsibility in Scotland from 8 to 12?” Scotsman (premium)
“Law change that could have seen James Bulger’s killers escape trial” Scotsman
“Minimum age of criminality set to rise in Scotland” Times
“Criminal age rise to 14 ruled out” BBC
“Government plans to raise age of criminal responsibility” STV

Following posted on 06.01.09

“No more primary age criminals” Herald
“So when should a child be prosecuted?” Herald
“Criminal responsibility” Herald
“We need progress towards United Nations standards” Herald

Following posted on 1.12.08

“Gillian Bowditch: The dock is no place for an eight–year–old” Times
“‘World horrified’ at criminal age “ BBC

Following posted on 26.11.08

“Young children should not be prosecuted, says law chief” STV
“Age of criminal responsibility too young, says lord advocate” Press and Journal
“Let’s stop treating eight year olds as criminals, says Lord Advocate “ Scotsman
“Age of criminal responsibility too low, says Angiolini” Times
“Should the age at which children can be held criminally responsible be raised from eight, as the Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini has urged?” Scotland on Sunday
“Eight year olds should not be made criminals: Angiolini” Law Society Journal Online

Following posted on 28.1.08

“Children are not criminals” Sunday Herald

Following posted on 19.11.07

“It’s child’s play, not crime” Scotland on Sunday

Following posted on 15.11.07

“Call for better parenting after child crime figures revealed” Herald
“The law and an age–old problem” Herald
“Revealed: the under–eights who commit crime” Herald
“Under–eights caught in serious crime cases” Evening Times
“Help for problem children” Herald
“Child crime statistics revealed” BBC
“Child Aged Two Is Branded A Criminal” Daily Record
“Three year olds among young offenders in the Highlands” Press and Journal

Press releases

“Criminal age to be raised to 12” Scot.Gov. (March 2009)
“‘United Kingdom must reshape its juvenile justice system,’ says Commissioner Hammarberg” Council of Europe Human Rights Commission (October 2008)

See also

Justice Committee Official Report 25.11.08. Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1
MEMORANDUM by Thomas Hammarberg,Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe Following his visits to the United Kingdom (5-8 February and 31 March-2 April 2008). Issue reviewed: Rights of the child with focus on juvenile justice
Scottish Law Commission (2002) Report on Age of Criminal Responsibility
s. 52 Criminal Justice and Licensing Act 2010

“[…] the Bill as introduced sought to amend current legal provisions so as to prevent any child under the age of 12 being prosecuted in the criminal courts. It did not seek to alter the legal presumption that no child under the age of eight years can be guilty of any offence. The result of this would be that a child aged between eight and 12 could still be held to have the mental capacity to commit a crime but could, where some form of compulsory intervention is considered necessary, only be dealt with through the children’s hearings system. Some members of the Justice Committee were attracted to the possibility of going further and increasing to 12 the age below which a child is deemed to lack the mental capacity to commit a crime. One member lodged a stage 2 amendment to achieve this result. It was, however, rejected by the committee. The relevant provisions of the Bill were agreed without amendment” SPICe briefing: Bill summary


CjScotland 30.12.08: Consultation on UN Committee on the Rights of the Child observations on Scotland launched

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