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Criminal LawText, Cases, and Materials

Criminal Law: Text, Cases, and Materials (10th edn)

Jonathan Herring
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date: 04 June 2023

p. 75514. Inchoate Offenceslocked

p. 75514. Inchoate Offenceslocked

  • Jonathan HerringJonathan HerringProfessor of Law, Exeter College, Oxford


This chapter discusses the law and theory of inchoate offences, which are those that seek to deal with defendants who have taken steps towards the commission of an offence but who have not (yet) committed it. The two best-known examples are attempts and conspiracies. In attempt cases, the defendant has gone beyond mere preparation and taken steps towards carrying out a complete crime. Conspiracy involves agreeing with others to commit an offence. The Serious Crime Act 2007 offences involve encouraging or assisting a person to commit an offence. With all of these inchoate offences the defendant has not themselves performed the actus reus but is sufficiently close to doing so, or persuading others to do so, for the law to find it appropriate to punish them. The second part of the chapter shows that there is much debate about the justification for inchoate offences.

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