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Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law (10th edn)

Jeremy Horder
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date: 23 February 2024

p. 47212. Complicitylocked

p. 47212. Complicitylocked

  • Jeremy HorderJeremy HorderProfessor of Criminal Law, London School of Economics and Political Science


This chapter examines the issue of complicity. ‘Complicity’ arises when two or more people agree to commit an offence which is then committed by one or more of them, or when a person plays a supporting role in the commission of an offence. The discussions cover the distinction between principals (those who commit the crime itself) and accessories (those who assist or encourage its commission). The discussion involves addressing complex questions about the conduct element in complicity, the fault element in complicity, joint ventures, and accessorial liability for different results. Also covered are derivative liability, the ‘missing link’, and special defences to complicity. Finally, some elements of complicity bearing on offences of public order are discussed, to show their relevance to civil liberties.

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