3. Legislative Context
The age of criminal responsibility in Scotland is currently 8 years. Since April 2011 no child under 12 years will be subject to prosecution on offence grounds further to the introduction of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010 . Accordingly, the majority of children aged between 12 and 16 who commit offences will be dealt with by the Children's Hearing system although they may be subject to the Criminal Justice system in exceptional circumstances because of the seriousness of the offence. Children between 16 and 18 may be dealt with by either the Criminal Justice system or the Children's Hearing system, or both. Good practice involves diverting children and young people from the adult system whenever possible, even when cases are initially heard in the adult system. This principle is supported by Criminal Justice Social Work Reports and Court Based Services Practice Guidance .