Private Members Bill drafted by Professor Mathew Dyson on the use of joint enterprises

Mathew Dyson, Professor of Civil and Criminal Law recently led on the drafting of a private members bill which was presented in The House of Commons earlier this week by Labour MP, Kim Johnson. He worked closely on the Joint Enterprise Bill with Criminology DPhil ESRC Grand Union Scholar, Nisha Waller, and Professor Felicity Gerry KC to discuss legal routes for addressing a number of injustices through joint enterprise prosecutions. 

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Joint enterprises are used to prosecute an individual who intentionally “assists or encourages” an offence. If the individual is found guilty of this act, they are punished as strongly as if they had been the principal offender. The difficulty lies with how enterprises are widely used today, many people are convicted while making no notable contribution to a selected crime.  

While it has been noted that the laws on joint enterprises have been compromised in recent years, if the proposed bill were to be passed, it would impact the level of a defendant’s contribution to a crime and would therefore have to be analysed with thorough consideration. Furthermore, the Bill would help to identify errors of misjudgement of convictions based on minimal reports of physical conduct which questions the potential for miscarriages of justice.