The Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 raises the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12 years.

The Bill passed Stage 3 on 7th May 2019 and received Royal Assent on 11th June 2019.

Sections 3 and 27 came into force on 29th November 2019 - see blog post here about the provisions in force. 

The Scottish Government consulted on the issue in 2016. Read Clan Childlaw’s consultation response here. In broad terms we welcomed the proposal to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility. Harmful behaviours displayed by 8-11 year olds should be treated as child protection concerns rather than criminal matters. Our response detailed, however, our concerns that police powers and disclosure of information and the consequences they may have for children as they enter adulthood fully respect children’s rights under Article 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 40 of the United Nations on Conventions on the Rights of the Child. 

In 2015 we prepared a Note for Alison McInnes MSP on the Age of Criminal Responsibility in Scotland in support of her amendment to Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill  seeking to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12. The amendment was not carried.