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Discuss the significance of the Jamie Bulger case on British law and society.

The Jamie Bulger case significantly impacted British law and society, leading to changes in the legal age of criminal responsibility and public attitudes towards crime.

The murder of two-year-old James Bulger by two ten-year-old boys in 1993 was a shocking event that sent ripples through British society. The case was significant for several reasons. Firstly, it led to a change in the legal age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales. Prior to the Bulger case, the age of criminal responsibility was 14. However, the fact that two ten-year-olds were found guilty of murder led to a lowering of the age to 10, a change that remains in place today.

The case also had a profound impact on public attitudes towards crime and punishment. The brutal nature of the crime and the young age of the perpetrators led to widespread public outrage and calls for harsher punishments for young offenders. This was reflected in the media coverage of the case, which was often sensationalist and focused on the perceived 'evil' of the boys rather than the social factors that may have contributed to their actions.

The Bulger case also led to a greater focus on the rights of victims in the criminal justice system. The suffering of James Bulger's family was widely reported in the media, leading to calls for victims and their families to be given a greater voice in the legal process. This has since led to changes in the law, such as the introduction of Victim Personal Statements and the creation of the role of Victims' Commissioner.

Furthermore, the case raised important questions about the nature of childhood and the capacity of children to understand the consequences of their actions. The decision to try the boys in an adult court and the subsequent life sentences they received were controversial and led to debates about the appropriateness of treating children in the same way as adults in the criminal justice system.

In conclusion, the Jamie Bulger case had a significant impact on British law and society. It led to changes in the legal age of criminal responsibility, influenced public attitudes towards crime and punishment, and resulted in a greater focus on the rights of victims. It also sparked debates about the nature of childhood and the treatment of young offenders, issues that continue to be relevant today.

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