to do so, arrangements must be made to provide them with legal counsel.7 State funded legal aid
is available to persons who provide evidence that they do not have the financial means to secure
legal representation; however, there is no priority given to or special regime for applications
submitted on behalf of children.8
The new criminal procedure code of 2015, established a new type of court - juvenile court.9 The
juvenile courts are administered by a judge and two judicial advisors with experience in
psychology, criminology, social work or education.10 According to the Criminal Procedure law,
juvenile court judges should be married (preferably with children), have a minimum of 5 years of
judicial experience as judges, and have received training (although the type of training is not
Under the new criminal procedures, one of the branches of the criminal court system is to be
devoted to children and adolescents.12 Similarly during the initial investigation phase, one of the
branches of the office of the prosecutor is appointed to conduct investigations in those cases.13
The creation of a special office of prosecutors for juveniles that is in charge of investigating
crimes committed by juveniles between the ages of 15 to 18 is a positive improvement, though
one legal expert predicts that those offices will only be established in Tehran.14
The “Law on the Protection of Children and Adolescents”,15 which had been in consideration
within the government’s legislative bodies for over 9 years, was finally passed on June 11, 2020.
This law brought a few improvements to the status of children within the context of the judicial
system in Iran. Namely it established, through Article 2 of the law, that people under 18 are
considered minors before the law.16 Despite this apparent improvement, Article 25 of the new
law makes an exception for crimes that carry hudud and qisas punishments, which allow for the
imposition of the death penalty for juvenile offenders. Additionally, Articles 146 and 147 of the
Islamic Penal Code, which set the age of criminal responsibility at the age of a puberty, have yet
to be repealed. This means that for cases related to hudud, qisas and diyat the age of criminal
responsibility remains at 9 years for girls and 15 years for boys.
The general criminal court still preserves jurisdiction over “serious crimes” – which are offenses
punishable by at least 10 years’ imprisonment – and sexual crimes, such as sodomy between two
Constitution of Iran, art. 35, available at: (in Farsi) and at: (English translation).
Family sponsorship law, Article 5
Criminal Procedure Law, art. 294, available at:
Ibid. art. 298, available at:
Ibid. art. 409, available at:
Ibid. art. 402, available at:
Ibid. 287, available at:
Iran Human Rights Documentation Center consultation with Iranian lawyer Hossein Raeesi, February 2015.

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