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Crime: Age of Responsibility

Volume 699: debated on Tuesday 19 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the age of criminal responsibility in each part of the United Kingdom; how that compares with the rest of Europe; and whether they have any intention to lower the age. [HL1844]

The age of criminal responsibility (CR) in England and Wales is 10 years old. It is eight in Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland. In most European jurisdictions the age of CR is between 14 and 16 years but it can be misleading to make simple comparisons between countries because the youth justice and supporting social systems differ considerably. There are no plans to lower the age of CR in England and Wales.