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Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

The Scottish Government is to introduce legislation to Parliament that will increase the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland from eight to 12. 

The new legislation follows a recent consultation exercise in which 95% of respondents apparently supported an increase to 12 or above.

The Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Bill will mean:

  • fewer children entering the criminal justice system as they grow into adulthood;
  • the age of criminal responsibility will be brought into line with the current minimum age of prosecution in Scotland;
  • any information on harmful or concerning behaviour involving children under the age of 12 will no longer be disclosed automatically but will be subject to independent review on a case by case basis;
  • harmful behaviour involving children under 12 will continue to be addressed with bespoke new measures introduced to ensure police can thoroughly investigate the most serious incidents; and
  • victims of harm will continue to receive appropriate support and information.

“All children deserve the best possible start in life and this legislation marks a key milestone in Scotland’s journey to ensure children are respected and valued,” commented Early Years Minister Maree Todd.

“We know the actions of children who harm others are often a symptom of trauma in their own lives and that accruing a criminal record actually drives more offending,” she added. “This legislation will help turn around the lives of troubled, primary school age children - who are often vulnerable themselves – by addressing their deeds in the context of supporting their needs.”

Contact our Criminal Defence Lawyers Today

Our Criminal Defence Lawyers in Paisley and Greenock have over 100 years combined experience in successfully defending our clients in every kind of criminal case in Scotland. Contact us immediately for free, initial legal advice 24 hours per day.

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Call us now

  • Paisley 01418896458Existing Clients: 0141 889 6458
  • Greenock 01475888286Existing Clients: 01475 888 286