The Law Society of Scotland has welcomed plans to raise the age of criminal responsibility following a statement in the Scottish Parliament by Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald MSP today, Thursday, 1 December.

Ian Cruickshank, convener of the Law Society of Scotland criminal law committee, said: “Scotland’s age of criminal responsibility, at eight years of age, is the lowest in Europe and we are very pleased to see the Scottish Government intends to raise it to 12 years of age.

“The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has said that setting the age of criminal responsibility below 12 is not ‘internationally acceptable’ and we have argued for several years that a child of eight is too young to be held criminally responsible. Raising the age will bring it in line with the existing age of criminal prosecution in Scotland, providing clarity in the law, and will ensure that children are not treated and then labelled as offenders because of things they did when they were under 12 years old.”