Children’s team preparing for changes to age of criminal responsibility

The Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Act 2019 will come into effect on 17 December 2021, and will raise the age of criminal responsibility from eight years of age to 12 years of age.

Under Part 4 of the Act applications can be made by a police constable to a sheriff for three types of orders relating to a child under 12 (or an older child who was under 12 at the time of the alleged incident).

The orders are:

  • S36 – an order involving a search in relation to a child
  • S44- an order to interview a child
  • S63 – an order relating to taking prints and samples

The Scottish Government has decided that children’s legal assistance will be available to a child and certain adults to defend these applications in the court and for any onward appeal to the Sheriff Appeal Court where this is appropriate.

We will be publishing a more detailed update, along with our guidance for practitioners, prior to the new legislation coming into force on 17 December.

If you have any questions about this please contact:

Wendy Dalgleish

Head of Civil and Children’s Legal Services


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