The Referral of Juvenile Offenders to the Adult Court in Belgium: Theory and Practice

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In Belgium the juvenile judge can exceptionally refer a juvenile offender aged 16 years or over to the Public Prosecutor with the intent of prosecuting and sentencing the minor before the adult court. As in the UK and the USA, this transfer mechanism is increasingly pushed forward as a preferential solution for serious juvenile offenders. With this, a more classic penal angle and an increased repressive tenor seem to have entered the juvenile justice system and are replacing the individualised justice and rehabilitative ideal. That this new culture of control with facilitated waiver conditions and ‘populist’ policy discourse does not necessarily result in more repressive judicial practices can be illustrated with Belgian transfer statistics and interviews with magistrates.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Catherine Van Dijk is PhD Student-Assistant, An Nuytiens is Researcher and C. Eliaerts is Professor of Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University Brussels), Belgium

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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