San Diego International Law Journal


Malea Casillas

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



As this data shows, countries across the globe, irrespective of culture, comply with and uphold the international MLAM. In contrast, they simultaneously fail to agree to the international MACR. The universal conformity with the international MLAM demonstrates that countries understand the negative consequences of marriage at a young age and care to protect children against child marriage. However, the even lower MACRs across the globe indicate that most of our world values prosecution over protection and likely sees offender first and child second.

This Comment will argue that MACR and MLAM should be recognized as similar legal concepts that are ultimately enacted to protect children, and that countries should adjust their MACR to the same age as their MLAM to reflect this. At the minimum, this Comment recommends that the UN not only reiterate a strict MACR of 14 years of age and MAAP of 18 years of age, but also explicitly lays out a framework for what a juvenile system for this age window should be.

In Section I, the definitions of key terms used throughout the analysis are explained to lay a foundation of understanding of the topic. In Section II, this Comment will introduce the findings of developmental psychology on criminal responsibility. In Section III, this Comment will explain the history of the international MACR and MLAM standards. In Section IV, this Comment will analyze the MACR and MLAM of three different countries: (1) Singapore, a country with a low MACR; (2) Sweden, a country with a high MACR; and, (3) the United States of America, an outlier country with no set MACR. Then, in Section V, the MACR and MLAM will be compared to argue that not only are they comparable legal concepts, but also that an international conformity to the standard MACR, like the current general conformity to the standard MLAM, can be achieved by acknowledging and proposing their similarity. Finally in Section VI, this Comment will propose recommendations for how to move forward.