Delayed development

Civil law and civil procedure / Minority

Delayed development

The concept ‘incompleted development’ in the application of adolescent criminal law (full text only available in Dutch)


Adolescent criminal law (ACL) was implemented in the Netherlands on April 1, 2014. Since then, the application of sanctions from juvenile and adult criminal law for persons between the ages of 16 and 23 has become more flexible. In the prosecution and trial of a young adult the application of both a sanction from juvenile criminal law and a sanction from adult criminal law are possible. The choice depends on the conditions ‘person of the perpetrator’ and ‘circumstances in which the offense was committed’. For people aged 18 to 23 who are suspected of a criminal offense, the question is to what extent the young adult has an ‘incompleted development’. According to the ‘memorandum of explanation’ of the law, in case of ‘incompleted development’ a sanction from juvenile criminal law is preferred instead of a sanction of adult criminal law. The operationalization of the concept ‘incompleted development’ became the task of the Dutch institutions involved in criminal law. In practice, however, uncertainty remains as when to speak about ‘incompleted development’. In individual cases this complicates the choice of applying sanctions from the juvenile criminal law or sanctions from the adult criminal law.
The aim of the current research was to provide more clarity about the concept ‘incompleted development’ and how it can be used in the application of adolescent criminal law.

Publication data

Spanjaard, H.J.M., Filé, L.L., Noom, M. J., Buysse, W.H.
Spanjaard Development & Training , DSP, Amsterdam University, WODC
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Spanjaard Development & Training
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