CRC concluding observations 2016, paragraph 79

UN recommendation

Plain English recommendation

Government should: Align the UK’s juvenile justice systems in line with UN advice and: (a) Increase the age of criminal responsibility to acceptable international standards. (b) Ensure children are dealt with using the juvenile justice system up to age 18. Diversion measures should not appear in children’s criminal records. (c) Ban automatic life imprisonment for offences by under 18s. (d) Introduce laws ensuring detention is used as a last resort and for the shortest time possible. Ensure detention is not used disproportionately against certain groups. (e) Ensure child and adult detainees are kept separate. (f) Make immediate improvements to the treatment of children in custody. Ban the solitary confinement of children. Monitor segregation and isolation in child detention. Consider UN advice on juvenile justice (currently being revised).

Original UN recommendation

With reference to its general comment No. 10 (2007) on children’s rights in juvenile justice, the Committee recommends the State party to bring its juvenile justice system, including in all devolved administrations, the overseas territories and the Crown dependencies, fully into line with the Convention and other relevant standards. In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party: (a) Raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility in accordance with acceptable international standards; (b) Ensure that children in conflict with the law are always dealt with within the juvenile justice system up to the age of 18 years, and that diversion measures do not appear in children’s criminal records; (c) Abolish the mandatory imposition of life imprisonment for children for offences committed while they are under the age of 18; (d) Establish the statutory principle that detention should be used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest possible period of time and ensure that detention is not used discriminatorily against certain groups of children; (e) Ensure that child detainees are separated from adults in all detention settings; (f) Immediately remove all children from solitary confinement, prohibit the use of solitary confinement in all circumstances and regularly inspect the use of segregation and isolation in child detention facilities.

Date of UN examination


UN article number

37 (detention), 40 (juvenile justice)

Last updated on 09/12/2020