Child Defendants and the Doctrines of the Criminal Law

Andrew Ashworth

in Essays in Criminal Law in Honour of Sir Gerald Gordon

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640706
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651450 | DOI:
Child Defendants and the Doctrines of the Criminal Law

Show Summary Details


This chapter considers the effect of youth on defences such as duress, provocation, diminished responsibility, and ignorance of the law, on consent, and on intention and recklessness. In view of the breadth of the field this is merely an exploratory study; but it is offered as a modest tribute to Gerald Gordon, whose ground-breaking and theoretically sophisticated works on Scots criminal law have had an influence on the author of this chapter and on many others beyond his native land. The chapter is organized as follows. Part A examines some relevant characteristics of childhood. Part B discusses the question of children as moral agents. Part C outlines some actual and possible responses to misconduct among the young. These three opening sections are merely brief discussions of complex issues, intended to sketch the background for Part D on general defences, Part E on consent and Part F on fault requirements. The fundamental question is whether the criminal law should be more flexible in its assessment of child defendants and, if so, how this would best be accomplished.

Keywords: youth; defence; Scots criminal law; moral agents; juvenile misconduct; consent; fault requirements; child defendants; childhood

Chapter.  12857 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.