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July 2016

Joint Enterprise: Righting a wrong turn?

This report presents the findings of an exploratory study of joint enterprise, undertaken by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research, in partnership with the
Prison Reform Trust. Joint enterprise is a doctrine of the criminal law which permits multiple defendants to be convicted of the same criminal offence even where they had different types or levels of involvement. It has been the source of great controversy in recent years.

The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, looks at the application of the doctrine of joint enterprise in the prosecution of serious cases, and considers the implications of the recent Supreme Court ruling on joint enterprise, which determined that the law had taken ‘a wrong turn’ and required ‘correction’.

The report argues that there is an urgent need for greater clarity and transparency in the way in which cases involving multiple defendants are prosecuted and sentenced in the future.