Children who murder: what is Her Majesty's pleasure?

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The mandatory sentence for children convicted of murder in England and Wales is detention at Her Majesty's pleasure yet, almost since its inception, there has been a lack of clarity as to the sentence's precise meaning and effect. This article traces the history of the sentence and examines the interaction between legislation and government policy and the impact which this has had on the child offender him/herself. It concludes with an examination of the recent ECHR judgment in the case of Thompson and Venables and the effect which this is likely to have for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-563
Number of pages17
JournalCriminal Law Review - London
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000


  • detention
  • human rights
  • juvenile offenders
  • murder
  • tariffs
  • criminology
  • penology


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