Danish Liberals call for abolition of minimum criminal age

gavelThe Danish Liberal Party’s spokeswoman for social affairs Ellen Trane Norby has called for the minimum age of criminal liability to be done away with and instead replaced with a juvenile court system.

As revealed in her blog on the Danish news source Politiken Norby stated: “At the risk of complicating the debate further, I would rather have that instead of reducing the criminal age; we got rid of it altogether”. Currently the minimum age for criminal liability in Denmark is 15 years although the governemnt has spoken of plans to lower this to 14. According to Norby, the convention would be better served by subjecting anyone under the age of 18 to a juvenile court system; a move which she claims would have widespread benefits.

Norby suggests a juvenile court would add value by: “Improving the rule of law for young offenders, because they would have their cases heard in a juvenile court system instead of being subjected to arbitrary evaluations from case officers who are lenient one day and strict the next”. Her arguements contradict the wishes of the Danish governemnt to lower the criminal age of responsibility to 14, a move which has the full backing of the Danish People’s Party.

According to Justice Minister Brian Mikkelsen the government’s proposal was not subject to negotiation.“We have taken a political decision and it will be 14. We find this the right thing to do after we have evaluated it as part of the overall package,” he stated.

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