Adolescent Criminal Law

Civil law and civil procedure / Minority

Adolescent Criminal Law

Characteristics of the target group, criminal cases and procedural execution (full text only available in Dutch)


Adolescent Criminal Law (ACL) became effective on 1 April 2014 in the Netherlands. The intention of this legislation is the stimulation of a flexible use of applying juvenile and adult criminal law in cases against suspects and offenders aged around 18 years old. The principle idea behind ACL is that certain young adults are better off receiving sanctions from the juvenile criminal law system, instead of the adult criminal law system. For instance, young adults with developmental deficits should be ‘treated’ more for their criminal behaviour than merely ‘punished’.
Two key changes brought on by ACL are raising the maximum age for juvenile criminal law by two years (from up to 21 years old to up to 23 years old) and in-creased emphasis on forensic advice provided by forensic experts.

The aim of this study is twofold. Firstly, the study aims to provide insight into how the ACL target group is defined by legislators, the criminal justice chain and academics. Also, a comparison was to be made of the perspective that legislator and policy makers have on what the ACL target group is, and how this group is intended by the justice field. After all, a working definition and description of the target group is crucial in selecting suitable young adults to be tried according to juvenile criminal law.
Secondly, the study aims to provide insights into how the actual ACL target group of young adults looks like in practise, based on information collected in the criminal justice chain.

Publication data

Prop, L.J.C., Laan, A.M. van der, Barendregt, C.S., Beerthuizen, M.G.C.J., Nieuwenhuizen, Ch. van
Place of publication:
The Hague
Year of publication:
Cahiers 2018-09

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Voor een electronische versie - zie: bijlagen (rechtsboven) (only available as pdf)