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Children Act, 2001 (Irish Act) Essay Sample

The following sample is written for highlighting the Children Act, of 2001 and its various legal provisions. This Act could also be read in relation to The Childcare Act 1991 and Child and Family Act 2014. This Act focuses on preventing the criminal behaviour of young children and providing them with a criminal justice system and rehabilitation.

Children Act, 2001 (Irish Act) Essay Sample

Children are amongst the most vuln+erable group of society. The law of the Irish state protects children from risks and danger until they become adults. Children are treated differently from adults by the criminal, justice system. Law that deals with children found in breach of the criminal law is contained in the Children Act 2001 amended by the Criminal Justice Act 2006, The Children Amendment Act 2015 and other acts.

The Children Act 2001 legislation is based on the philosophy that children in conflict with the law should only be detained (in custody) by the state as a last resort.

Three Department of Government with the responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the Children Act 2001 are:-

  1. Department of Justice and Equality
  2. Department of Education and Skills
  3. Department of Health

Definition of a child under Children Act 2001 – Section 3 of Children Act 2001 defines a ‘child’. It means a person under 18 years of age. Children Act 2001 does not distinguish between a child and a young person.

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Principles of the Children Act, 2001 (Ireland) 

The various principles associated with this Act focus mainly on criminal behaviour and the criminal justice system for children. Some of the principles are:-

  • Any child who accepts the sole responsibility for his or her offending behaviour should be diverted from the criminal proceedings, where appropriate.
  • Irish children have equal rights and freedoms before the law equal to those enjoyed by adults and a right to be heard and to participate in any proceedings affecting them.
  • Detention should be the last resort and may be imposed if it is the only suitable way of dealing with the child.
  • It gives due regard to the interests of the children.
  • A child’s age and a level of maturity may be taken into consideration as mitigating factors in the determination of a penalty.
  • A child’s privacy should be protected in any proceedings against him or her.

Children Act 2001: Section 52 – The Age of Criminal Responsibility

The Age of Criminal Responsibility is covered under section 52 of Children Act 2001 as amended by section 129 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006. This raised the age of criminal responsibility from 7 years to 12 years of age. That means children who have not reached the age of 12 years cannot be charged with a criminal offense.

There is an exception for children aged 10 or 11 who can be charged with murder, manslaughter, rape or aggravated sexual assault.

Where a child under 14 years of age is charged with an offense, no further proceedings can be taken without the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Although the Children Act 2001, in general, prohibits the children under 12 years of age from being charged and convicted of a criminal offence. They do not enjoy total immunity from action being taken against them.

Section 53 of Children Act 2001 places an onus on the Gardai to take a child under 12 years of age to his or her parents or guardians. If they’ve reasonable grounds for believing that the child has committed an offence with which the child cannot be charged due to the child’s age.

Where this is not possible the Gardai will arrange for the child to be taken into the custody of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) for the area in which the child normally resides.

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Detention of a child under 142 section

Under section 142 of the Children Act 2001, a court may impose a period of detention on a child. Children between age 10 and 16 years of age can be sentenced by the courts to a period of detention are sent to the Oberstown Children Detention Campus. The 17-year-old sentenced after 31st March 2017 are also sent to this campus.

Spent Convictions – section 258

Under the section 258 of the Children Act 2001, an offence committed by a child under the age 18, for which they have been found guilty, can be automatically expunged from the record as if never committed, once certain conditions are met.

The Conditions under the Spent Conviction of children under this Act 

  • The criminal offence was committed by before the child reached the age of 18.
  • The offence, not one required to be tried by the central criminal court (such as murder or rape).
  • At least 3 years have elapsed since the finding of guilt.
  • The child has not been dealt with for another offence in that 3 year period.

If these conditions are met, they’re no longer regarded under Irish law as having committed an offence. If they’ve received a caution or have been dealt with under the Probation of Offenders Act, 1907,  section 258 also applies.

Irish Children Court

This is a special court for children who are in trouble with the law and who are being charged with a crime in Ireland. The judge listens to both sides of the parties regarding the incident or events that have already happened and decides on what happens next. The children’s court is held in the courtrooms where ordinary sittings of the District Court are held, except in Dublin which has a dedicated Children’s court. The sittings are held at different times to those for adults who have to come to District court.

The children’s court gives special attention to helping children understand what is going on. If the parents or guardian cannot afford to pay a solicitor, the court can offer legal aid for the children’s Detention school. The Children Detention School is designated as a remand centre for children. Oberstown is designated as remand centres for boys and girls under 18 years of age.

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The above sample is written with the purpose of targeting the Law, child care, and development students. This sample deals with Children Act 2001 and its various legal provisions adhering to different areas of children’s criminal proceedings and the justice system for them in Ireland.

This essay could be referred by the legal students for completion of their assignments based on criminal law and behaviour of children and courts providing remedies. As we know legal research is a complex and elaborate task and it also requires expertise. So one could hire a professional legal writer for the assignment writing. This can be also referred by the students who have got assignments based on childcare and development.

Students facing grammatical errors, low typing speed, and poor command of language and vocabulary while writing assignments could be helped by our assignment writing experts at

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