Children of almost any age can break the law, but at what age should children first face the possibility of criminal responsibility for their alleged crimes? This work is the first global analysis of national minimum ages of criminal responsibility (MACRs), the international legal obligations that surround them, and the principal considerations for establishing and implementing respective age limits. Taking an international children's rights approach, with a rich theoretical framework and the vitality of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, this work maintains a critical perspective, such as in challenging the assumptions of many children's rights scholars and advocates. Compiling the age limits and statutory sources for all countries, this book explains the broad historical origins behind most of them, identifying the recurring practical challenges that affect every country and providing the first comprehensive evidence that a general principle of international law requires all nations, regardless of their treaty ratifications, to establish respective minimum age limits.
Don Cipriani (Ph.D. in Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) has researched and written frequently about children’s rights, juvenile justice, and criminal responsibility for UNICEF and international NGOs in Europe and Asia. In particular, he was the author of a draft General Comment on the minimum age of criminal responsibility for the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
'This is the first book on children's rights which offers a complete panorama of the history as well as the approach taken by the world to the problem of the age of children's criminal responsibility. The book is a good handbook on this issue showing the reader the immense variability in the conceptions of childhood and the differences between theory and practice. It is a "must" for academics interested in juvenile justice and for practitioners working with children in conflict with the law.' Josine Junger-Tas, University of Utrecht, Netherlands 'This brilliantly sparkling and inclusive meditation on the pivotal but obscure question of when children become criminally culpable is required reading for all who care for child justice. Cipriani insists on the bewildering complexity of setting a minimum age of criminal responsibility which subjects children above it to penal procedures and punishment, while rooting his analysis in the practical challenges of lurching toward a coherent system of child rights.' Bernardine Dohrn, Northwestern University School of Law, USA 'Children's Rights and the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility is a carefully researched, well-considered and pragmatic text. It provides a comprehensive and very readable overview of worldwide approaches towards criminal responsibility and the young. I would recommend this book principally to academics and students (both under- and post-graduate) with an interest in juvenile justice systems. It is also likely that any practitioner working within the field of children's and young persons' rights would find this text a useful and an engaging read.' SCOLAG Journal 'This is a highly useful survey that advocates of change in Britain and elsewhere will be able to refer to with advantage. Now that Scotland has decided to raise its MACR from eight to 12, I anticipate Cipriani's book will frequently be referenced in England and Wales and in Ireland, both in the North and in the Republic.' British Journal of