CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, December 2, 2019

Gibson on The Age of Criminal Responsibility

Leanne Gibson has posted The Abolition of Doli Incapax and the Alternatives to Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

‘The law, as a system of rules that guides and governs human interaction, is premised on the view that humans can understand and follow rules.’ It is evident that children are unable to fully understand and follow the law in the same way as an adult as evidenced by extensive research into a child’s cognitive ability. The doctrine of doli incapax reflects the concern that ‘using criminal penalties to punish a child who does not appreciate the wrongfulness of his or her actions lacks moral justification’. Despite this, the doli incapax doctrine was abolished by Section 34 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. This paper seeks to explore why the doctrine of doli incapax was abolished and whether as a result, a different mechanism should be put in place to provide protection for young offenders.

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