Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) International Profiles

These international profiles investigate the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (MACR) in Germany, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, and Sweden, respectively. They were produced within a set timeframe (October – November 2015) to assist the Scottish Government MACR Advisory Group in considering the policy, legislative and procedural implications of raising the MACR. The purpose of the comparative profiles, along with the limited resources and time available, should be taken into consideration when consulting the material.

International Profile: Germany 

This profile presents information and evidence on the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Germany. It specifically focuses on policies and practices about investigating offences committed by children/young people. Key findings include: that the MACR is 14 (however, it depends on the age and mental development of the child); every participant in criminal proceedings (adult or child) has the right to be heard before the court (respond to the charges or not to make any statement; and provisions are in place to ensure identity of defendants (children or adults) is protected.

International Profile: Republic of Ireland

This profile presents information and evidence on the minimum age of criminal responsibility in the Republic of Ireland. It specifically focuses on policies and practices about investigating offences committed by children/young people. Key findings include: that the MACR is 12; prosecution & imprisonment of children should be a last resort; and the system is more lenient when children, rather than adults, are involved in criminal proceedings.

International Profile: New Zealand

This profile presents information and evidence on the minimum age of criminal responsibility in New Zealand. It specifically focuses on policies and practices about investigating offences committed by children/young people. Key findings include: that the MACR is 10; age is a mitigating factor; and restorative justice principles run throughout the youth justice system.

International Profile: Portugal

This profile presents information and evidence on the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Portugal. It specifically focuses on policies and practices about investigating offences committed by children/young people. Key findings include: that the MACR is 16; that children’s deprivation of liberty is a last resort; and that there is a focus on the reintegration and rehabilitation of children.

International Profile: Sweden

This profile presents information and evidence on the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Sweden. It specifically focuses on policies and practices about investigating offences committed by those under the age of criminal responsibility. Key findings include: the MACR is 15; imprisonment is rare for young people under 21; and there is special consideration of each particular case.

Download all five International Profiles as one PDF here.

Contact Us

Centre for Youth & Criminal Justice
University of Strathclyde
Lord Hope Building, Level 6
141 St. James Road Glasgow G4 0LT

(0141) 444 8622

cycj@strath.ac.uk

Stay informed

Subscribe to our e-newsletter and get all the latest advice and news.

Latest Discussion

Follow us on Twitter >>

Connect with us