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Encyclopedia > Age of criminal responsibility

Defense of infancy is a form of defense by excuse; in which a defendant argues that, at the time a law was broken, they were not criminally liable for their actions, as they had not reached an age of criminal responsibility. Many courts recognize that juvenile defendants may receive mitigated criminal sentence, and should they be young enough, prosecution may not be allowed at all.

  Results from FactBites:
Defense of infancy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1015 words)
In Scotland the age of responsibility is eight years, In England and Wales and Northern Ireland the age of responsibility is ten years and in the Netherlands and Canada, the age of responsibility is twelve years.
As the treaty parties of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court could not agree on a minimum age for criminal responsibility, they chose to solve the question procedurally and excluded the jurisdiction of the Court for persons under 18 years.
Alternatively, the lack of real fault in the offender can be recognized by rulings that dispense mitigated criminal sentences or address more practical matters of parental responsibility by adjusting the rights of parents to unsupervised custody, or by separate criminal proceedings against the parents for breach of their duties as parents.
Progress of Nations 1997 Special Protections - Progress and Disparity (578 words)
International standards, such as the Beijing Rules for juvenile justice, recommend that the age of criminal responsibility be based on emotional, mental and intellectual maturity and that it not be fixed too low.
In all Scandinavian countries, the age of criminal responsibility is 15, and adolescents under 18 are subject to a system of justice that is geared mostly towards social services, with incarceration as the last resort.
The wide variation in age of criminal responsibility reflects a lack of international consensus, and the number of countries with low ages indicates that many juvenile justice systems do not adequately consider the child's best interests.
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