Joint Criminal Ventures and Murder: The Prospects for Law Reform

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Abstract:

The Government has announced its intention not to reform the law of complicity, in so far as it affects homicide cases. In analysing the prospects for future reform, we will set out some of the provisions concerning murder contained in the first version of an unpublished Bill (the 'discarded Bill') that was at one stage drafted in order to assist the Law Commission's work on reform of the law governing participation in crime. The discarded Bill contained important provisions applicable to joint ventures ending in murder, although these were ultimately rejected by the Commission in favour of the draft Bill appended to its final report on complicity. That draft Bill said nothing specifically about homicide. We explore the possibility of re-uniting the discarded provisions on murder with the existing draft Bill, and hence reforming the law governing complicity in murder, most especially the law governing murder committed in the course of a joint criminal venture. Finally, we consider Professor Sullivan's attempt to re-redesign the principles of complicity.

Keywords: CODIFICATION; COMPLICITY; JOINT ENTERPRISE; MURDER

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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  • Until 2007 the King's Law Journal was known as the King's College Law Journal. It was established in 1990 as a legal periodical publishing scholarly and authoritative Articles, Notes and Reports on legal issues of current importance to both academic research and legal practice. It has a national and international readership, and publishes refereed contributions from authors across the United Kingdom, from continental Europe and further afield (particularly Commonwealth countries and USA). The journal includes a Reviews section containing critical notices of recently published books.
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