Successful challenge of the ‘doctrine of joint enterprise’ in UK Supreme Court

beatricekrebs_lToday the Supreme Court and the Privy Council reversed 30 years of English case law and effectively abolished the doctrine of ‘joint enterprise’ in murder cases.

Dr Beatrice Krebs, a lecturer at the University of Reading’s School of Law, had previously argued in two articles, cited to the Court by the appellants, that the Privy Council took a wrong turn in Chan Wing-Siu and that the House of Lords was wrong to have followed that decision in Powell and Rahman.

Dr Krebs said: “It was wrong to equate foresight of a killing by the principal offender with intention that the principal offender commit the killing. Consequently the threshold for conviction of secondary parties was lower than that required for convicting the person who actually wielded the knife or gun. Both these arguments were accepted by the Court.

“The Supreme Court acknowledged that, in contrast to previous courts that considered joint enterprise, it had ‘had the benefit of a far deeper and more extensive review of the topic’.

“I am proud to have assisted Ameen Jogee’s defence team, led by Felicity Gerry QC, and I am grateful to Felicity for giving me the opportunity to help change the law.”

Read Dr Beatrice Kreb’s landmark paper: Mens rea in joint enterprise: a role for endorsement?