1 Introduction |
1. On 19 October 2011 we announced our inquiry into
the aspect of secondary liability in a criminal venture commonly
known as joint enterprise. Our inquiry was prompted by dissatisfaction
with the operation of the doctrine amongst campaigning groups.
Concerns were expressed both by groups representing victims and
groups representing those who believe they have been convicted
following a miscarriage of justice.
2. Our terms of reference focused on four specific
- How often and in what types
of cases is joint enterprise used?
- Has the use of joint enterprise in charging defendants
changed in recent years?
- What would be the advantages and disadvantages
of enshrining the doctrine in legislation?
- What would be the impact of implementing the
Law Commission's proposals as set out in Participating in Crime?
3. We received 26 submissions from witnesses and
held two oral evidence sessions with witnesses listed at the end
of this Report. We are grateful to all those who took the time
to contribute to our inquiry.
4. As will be clear from the terms of reference,
the purpose of this inquiry was to investigate claims that the
doctrine of joint enterprise was so unclear, or so complex, that
its use could potentially cause injustice to either victims, and
the families of victims, or defendants. It was described to us
as a "complex and volatile" area of law.
1 Law Commission paper No. 305, May 2007, Cm 7084 Back
Ev 43 Back