Do children have the capacity to commit a crime? The question of minimum age of criminal responsibility. Cover Image

Do children have the capacity to commit a crime? The question of minimum age of criminal responsibility.
Do children have the capacity to commit a crime? The question of minimum age of criminal responsibility.

Author(s): Ágnes Balogh
Subject(s): Other
Published by: Uniwersytet Opolski
Keywords: MACR; minimum age of criminal responsibility; criminal code; moral development; juvenile offenders; child offenders;

Summary/Abstract: The article investigates the question of minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR). A child under the age of criminal responsibility lacks the capacity to commit a crime. This means they are immune from criminal prosecution – they cannot be formally charged by authorities with an offence nor be subjected to any criminal law procedures or measures. Numerous international treaties and agreements set standards concerning the ways in which children in conflict with the law should be dealt with. A wide range of minimum ages of criminal responsibility worldwide, ranging from a very low level of age 7 or 8 to the commendable high level of age 14 or 16. On 1st July 2013 a new criminal code, the Act of 2012 entered into force in Hungary, which lowered the MACR from the age of 14 to 12. According to the Official Comments the main reason for lowering is the fact that nowadays the biological development of children speeded up, they reach maturity earlier than ever. Another argument is that children are exposed to more social influences because of the information technology revolution. The Comments states that among children between 12 and 14 years of age violence is used as a tool to enforce their interests. The article takes a critical look at these arguments by examining criminal statistics and insights of psychological research.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 259-273
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: English