July 2016

The Society’s committees have been working on a number of Scottish Parliament and UK Parliament Bills and consultations including immigration and asylum tribunal fees, the minimum age of criminal responsibility and the proposed secondary market for pension annuities.

Key areas are highlighted below. For more information see the law reform section of the website

Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

The Criminal Law Committee has responded to a Scottish Government advisory group consultation on raising the age of criminal responsibility from eight to 12.

Scotland’s age of criminal responsibility is currently the lowest in Europe and we fully support the advisory group’s recommendation to raise it to 12. The interests of children must be paramount and it is crucial that their welfare is the focus of attention even in the difficult circumstances of offending behaviour. We do not think that children under the age of 12 should have their actions recorded as criminal.

We are concerned about the advisory group’s suggestion that the police should have an unspecified power of detention where a child’s parents or carers are not willing to cooperate with necessary enquiries by police or social workers.

The full consultation response is available to read on the law reform section of the website