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Childhood and Crime

Claire McDiarmid

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Examines how the criminal law and the criminal justice system treat children who commit serious crimes

How does the legal system accommodate an individual who is simultaneously a child and a criminal? Claire McDiarmid examines a number of serious cases from legal, philosophical and sociological perspectives, including the murder of James Bulger in 1993. She argues that a thorough investigation of the child’s criminal capacity, drawing on developmental psychology, is necessary to provide a fair and rational basis for decisions on responsibility and disposal in respect of such children. Childhood and Crime presents a model for achieving this.

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Table of Cases
Table of Statutes
Table of Statutory Instruments
Table of International Instruments
1. Introduction
2. The Context of the Bulger Case and Its Ripple Effect
3. Children and the Mental Element in Criminal Law
4. The Recognition of the Child’s Criminal Capacity in Law: Two Examples
5. The Treatment of Children in Scots Law Historically
6. The Modern Law
7. Welfare and the Children’s Hearings System: “Justice” within Welfare
8. Concluding Thoughts

About the Author

Claire McDiarmid is Reader in Law at the University of Strathclyde. She has been teaching and researching Scots criminal law for more than 20 years. She is co-author, with Professor Pamela Ferguson, of Scots Criminal Law: A Critical Analysis (2nd ed: Edinburgh University Press, 2014) and Scots Criminal Law Essentials (3rd ed: Edinburgh University Press, 2018) and has also published widely on legal responses to children who offend.