Joint criminal enterprise
Krebs, B. (2010) Joint criminal enterprise. Modern Law Review, 73 (4). pp. 578-604. ISSN 0026-7961
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-2230.2010.00809.x
The doctrine of joint criminal enterprise is in disarray. Despite repeated judicial scrutiny at the highest level, the doctrine's scope, proper doctrinal basis and function in relation to other modes of complicity remain uncertain. This article examines the doctrine's elements and underlying principles. It argues that while joint criminal enterprise is largely used to make individuals liable for offences committed by their associates in excess of the common criminal purpose, its proper function is to police the limits of associate liability and thus to exculpate rather than inculpate. The doctrine governs not only instances of accessorial liability; it also applies where the parties involved are joint principal offenders. As this puts into question the prevalent view that joint criminal enterprise is a form of secondary participation that results in accessorial liability, the article concludes that it is best seen as a doctrine sui generis.