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NCJ Number: 160629 Find in a Library
Title: Doctrine of 'Doli Incapax'
Corporate Author: Penal Affairs Consortium
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Penal Affairs Consortium
London, SW9 0PU, United Kingdom
Sale Source: Penal Affairs Consortium
169 Clapham Road
London, SW9 0PU,
United Kingdom
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Current legal doctrines concerning the criminal responsibility of children ages 10-13 in England and Wales are summarized, and the views of the Penal Affairs Consortium on this issue are presented.
Abstract: Children under age 10 cannot be found guilty of a criminal offense. Children ages 10-13 are presumed in law to be doli incapax (incapable of criminal intent). The prosecution must rebut this presumption before a child this age can be convicted. To rebut the presumption, the prosecution must show beyond reasonable doubt that the child appreciated that the action was seriously wrong and not merely naughty or mischievous. Although the presumption of doli incapax is a long-established part of the law, the Divisional Court sought to abolish it in 1994. The Penal Affairs Consortium regards this doctrine as an important recognition that juveniles of this age should not be considered as fully criminally responsible as adults. It should not be abolished unless this measure is accompanied by a substantial raising of the age of criminal responsibility, which is unusually low in comparison to most other Western European countries. These countries handle these children in civil court proceedings concerned with the need for compulsory measures of care. Even if the age of criminal responsibility were raised, an approach similar to the doli incapax presumption would be desirable when dealing with offenders above the age of criminal responsibility but within the juvenile court age range. Appended table and 3 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile Corrections/Detention; Juvenile court procedures
Index Term(s): Age of legal majority; Corrections in foreign countries; Criminal responsibility; England; Juvenile Corrections/Detention effectiveness; Legal doctrines; Shock incarceration programs; Wales; Youthful offenders
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