Criminal Responsibility Case Study

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Minimum Age Of Criminal Responsibility

In all Australian legal jurisdictions, children under the age of ten are considered to be too young to have criminal intent. That means, that children under this age cannot be held legally responsible for their actions. Australia is the only region in the world to have uniform legal guidelines on the lower age limit of criminal responsibility. (Weijers, Grisso 2009 p.45). Having the presumption that children under the age of ten are unable to know the law completely, therefore not being able to have mens rea, is in my opinion, necessary in our criminal courts. This essay will look at the reasons for the necessary use of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, such as the Beijing rules, the convention
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Goldon (2013) states there are two essential foundations in relation to the capacity test. These are cognitive and volitional. The cognitive element states that if the child has suitable ability - both to comprehend what the law wants them to do and the ability to understand the nature and reputation of any act committed, then the responsibility test is satisfied, therefore the child may be judiciously held accountable for the wrongdoing. The volitional element maintains that if the child has the capacity to exercise full control over their actions, then they could also be responsible. (Goldson 2013 p.115) Therefore, with these two elements, children under the age of ten are considered to be unable to fully appreciate the nature of the…show more content…
- Goldston, B (2013), ‘Unsafe, unjust and harmful to wider society’: Grounds for raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales’, Youth Justice, vol. 13, no. 2, 111-130.

- Keating, D. (1990): Adolescent thinking, in: S.S. Feldman and G.R. Elliott (eds.) At the threshold: The developing adolescent , Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 54-–89.

- Seymour, J. (1988) ‘Children and the Criminal law’ in Dealing with young offenders, 178.

- Steinberg, L. (2002), Adolescence (6 th edition) New York: McGraw Hill.

- Urbas, G. (2000) ‘The Age of Criminal Responsibility’, Australian institute of criminology, trends and issues in crime and criminal justice, no.181., viewed 20 March 2015, 1.

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