Age of Criminal Responsibility

Posted on 19th Nov 2021

Children’s Minister Clare Haughey has confirmed the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 will be fully in place from 17 December.

This is welcome news for SCRA and means the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland will increase from eight to 12 next month. We have, of course, not been prosecuting children under 12 since the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 section 52 came into force, but the new age of criminal responsibility makes things very clear.

Alistair Hogg, SCRA’s Head of Practice and Policy said: “We are really pleased that the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland will finally be raised to 12 years from next month. No child under 12 in Scotland will be labelled as a criminal and children under 12 who come into conflict with the law will be responded to in a child-centred, rights respecting way.

“The provisions in relation to Children’s Hearings have been in force now for over two years, but it’s great news that the other important provisions in the Act can now be implemented.  We aim to make sure that any victims of the serious or harmful behaviour of children will still be fully supported.”

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