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The Age of Criminal Responsibility (ACR) Conference


Room 403 4th Floor, Business and Law Building
The aim of this conference is to encourage debate and discussion on the current age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales which is set at 10 years. This low age is seriously out of line with other responsibilities and rights. For instance a young person must be 16 years old before they can consent to sexual relations, including consensual sexual relations with another young person. A young person cannot join the armed forces until they are 16 years old. They must be 18 years old to buy cigarettes or alcohol, get a tattoo or vote. The low age of 10 is also out of line with most other European countries and international human rights standards. This conference will provide a forum for exploring the latest research and developments in understanding the challenges facing young people in conflict with the law. The conference should be of interest to a wide audience including researchers, policy makers, judges, lawyers, psychologists, psychiatrists, criminologists, educators, and professionals in many other allied disciplines who address the subject of childhood, youth and criminality. The conference is co-organised by Dr Ray Arthur (Reader) and Nicola Wake (Senior Lecturer) from Northumbria University, and Thomas Crofts (Associate Professor) from the University of Sydney. Speakers include: Professor Thomas Crofts, Sydney University Associate Professor Thomas Crofts is Director of the Sydney Institute of Criminology. He is a graduate of University College London (LL.B.), the Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg, Germany (LL.M.) and the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/O., Germany (Dr. iur.). His research in criminal law, criminology and criminal justice centres on criminalisation and criminal responsibility, with a particular focus on criminal responsibility of young people, comparative criminal law and criminal law reform. He has published in English and German in these fields in national and international journals and is the co-author of Sexting and Young People (Palgrave 2015), co-editor of Criminalisation and Criminal Responsibility (OUP 2015), author of Criminal Responsibility of Children and Young People (Ashgate 2002) and author/co-author of several criminal law texts, including: Criminal Law in Queensland and Western Australia (2014), Waller & Williams Criminal Law (2013), Principles of Criminal Law in Queensland and Western Australia (2011) and The Criminal Codes (2009). In 2011 he was awarded the Australia and New Zealand Society of Criminology‘s inaugural Adam Sutton Crime Prevention Award. Currently, he is conducting two research projects funded by the Australian Institute of Criminology into young people’s perceptions of ‘sexting’ and into the policing of the LGBTQI community. Professor Barry Goldson, The University of Liverpool Professor Barry Goldson currently holds the Charles Booth Chair of Social Science at the University of Liverpool where he was previously Professor of Criminology and Social Policy. He is also Visiting Professorial Research Fellow at the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (since 2010), Professorial Fellow in Social Justice at Liverpool Hope University, UK (since 2012) and Adjunct Professor at the School of Justice, QUT, Brisbane, Australia (since 2014). He is an appointed member of the Pool of European Youth Researchers (PEYR), an expert group established by the Council of Europe and the European Commission to advise on pan-European youth policy and research. Professor Goldson has researched and published extensively – particularly in the juvenile/youth justice fields. His most recent authored and/or edited books include: Youth Crime and Justice (Sage, 2006, with Muncie), Comparative Youth Justice (Sage, 2006, with Muncie), Dictionary of Youth Justice (Willan, 2008), Youth Crime and Juvenile Justice (an edited three-volume set of international ‘major works’, Sage 2009, with Muncie), Youth in Crisis? ‘Gangs’, Territoriality and Violence (Routledge, 2011), Youth Crime and Justice, 2nd edition (Sage, 2015, with Muncie) and Re-imagining Juvenile Justice (forthcoming, Routledge, 2016). Pam Hibbert OBE, Centre for Social Justice Pam was awarded an OBE in June 2011 for services to children and families. She has worked in practice, management, policy and research in children’s services for over 30 years, specialising in youth justice and looked after children.She has directly managed services for children in trouble including management of a large Secure Children’s Home accommodating children convicted under the ‘grave crimes’ provisions (Section 53 1933 Children Act, now Section 90/91 Powers of the Criminal Court (Sentencing) Act 2000). She has undertaken lobbying and led campaigns on a variety of related issues and between 1999 and 2009, as Assistant Director (Policy) at a large NGO, commissioned and undertook research and published a number of reports. In 2010 she worked with the Children’s Commissioner for England, leading on a programme of work examining the policy, provision and practice concerning mental health and emotional well- being for children and young people in the criminal justice system, particularly those in custody – ‘I think I must have been born bad’ (June 2011). Helen Howard, Teesside University Helen studied law at Durham University. After graduating, and competing her vocational training at the College of Law in York, she went on to qualify as a solicitor. Helen joined Teesside University in 1995 to teach criminal law. In 2002 she completed a Master of Jurisprudence at Durham University involving a 40,000-word thesis on mental condition defences. Her research led to suggestions for a new kind of insanity defence and resulted in published articles in the Journal of Criminal Law. Helen’s work has been quoted in the 2013 Law Commission Discussion Paper on Insanity and Automatism and the 2014 Law Commission Issues Paper on Unfitness to Plead. This resulted in her attending a Law Commission Working Group on unfitness to plead at the Ministry of Justice in October 2014. Helen’s paper on Diminished Responsibility, Culpability and Moral Agency at the 2013 international conference on Mental Disorder and Criminal Justice at Northumbria University formed the basis of her chapter in Mental Condition Defences and the Criminal Justice System: Perspectives from Law and Medicine. Dr. Raymond Arthur, Northumbria University Ray Arthur’s research interests relate to the delivery of justice for children and families. He has had 2 monographs published by Routledge on this theme and over 40 chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles on issues related to the delivery of justice for children and families, the complex linkage between parenting and youth offending and the extent to which the youth justice system in England and Wales protects children's human rights in the light of international best practice. He has previously worked at Teesside University, the Open University, the University of Birmingham and the University of Limerick. Nicola Wake, Northumbria University Nicola Wake is Senior Lecturer in Law at Northumbria University and Convenor for the Criminal Justice Section of the Society of Legal Scholars. Nicola’s research interests lie in the complex inter-relationship between traditional intoxication doctrine and mental condition defences. She is nationally and internationally published in this particular arena. Nicola co-organised and co-chaired the first UK conference on controversial governmental reforms to the concessionary defences; ‘Coroners and Justice Act 2009 – Panacea or Pandora’s Box for Partial Defences?’ and subsequently ‘Mental Disorder and Criminal Justice’(2013). James Chalmers, University of Glasgow James Chalmers is Regius Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow To view abstracts, please see the list to the right of this page. To see the conference programme, please click here Publication link For more information, please email Nicola Wake To follow the conference on Twitter: @ACRNORTHUMBRIA hashtag #ACR2015 To book a place, please complete the form below.