Putting the Age of Criminal and Tort Liability into Context: A Dialogue between Law with Psychology

International Journal of Children's Rights, Vol. 16, pp. 1-26, 2008

Posted: 2 Nov 2008 Last revised: 24 Mar 2009

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

The concepts of 'liability age' and 'capacity responsibility' have been widely dissected by researchers in various fields. However, their application to both criminal and tort liability of children remains inconsistent. Furthermore, rarely has an interdisciplinary approach adequately dealt with these concepts and their impact on legal norms.

This text investigates the notion of criminal and tort liability age in connection with the notion of capacity responsibility, in relation to children, and further questions the adequacy of the relevant legal norms. This endeavour to improve the applicable legal norms is supported by an analysis of the pertinent findings in the field of psychology, particularly in respect of the moral development of children.

Informed by an excursion through the ideas of Piaget, Kohlberg, and Gilligan, among others, regarding the moral development of children, the text also serves to assess the impact of concepts of moral responsibility and maturity, in relation to the development of the legal norms, which determine the age of liability of children. The text concludes with a proposal for a criminal and tort liability age framework, based upon indicative/presumptive age milestones, and an integrated approach to all relevant circumstances in casu.

Keywords: Criminal liability, Tort liability, Liability age, Legal responsibility, Moral responsibility, Moral

Suggested Citation

Ferreira, Nuno, Putting the Age of Criminal and Tort Liability into Context: A Dialogue between Law with Psychology (2008). International Journal of Children's Rights, Vol. 16, pp. 1-26, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1293293

Nuno Ferreira (Contact Author)

University of Sussex ( email )

School of Law, Politics and Sociology
Freeman Building, University of Sussex
Brighton, BN1 9QE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/396218

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