n Law, Democracy & Development - The role of international human rights law in the development of South Africa's legislation on juvenile justice

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



The recognition that children accused of committing offences should be treated differently to adults is now over a century old. The 1899 Illinois juvenile Court Act, which is widely credited as providing the first example of legislation establishing a separate juvenile justice system (Clement 1977: 11-18; Dorhne & Gewerth 1995:54-70), celebrated its centenary in 1999. During the first years of the twentieth century, many jurisdictions followed the Illinois example and enacted legislation dealing with aspects of juvenile justice, as well as establishing separate institutions for the treatment of children in conflict with the law. Amongst the common law countries, these included the other states in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

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