Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill passed

Date: 17th May 2019
Category: Age of criminal responsibility


MSPs have voted to pass the Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Bill. The Bill raises the minimum age at which a child can be held criminally accountable from eight years (the lowest in Europe) to 12. However, it falls short of international recommendations that the minimum age should be at least 14 years. 

Together has consistently called for the Bill to reflect the higher age of 14. This would bring Scots law in line with updated guidance from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

International experts have also called on Scotland to increase the age to at least 14. These include the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and Professor Ann Skelton of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

While increasing the minimum age from eight to 12 years is a welcome first step, Together will continue its calls for the minimum age to be increased to at least 14 years in line with international standards.