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Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law

Smith, Hogan, & Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law (3rd edn)

John Child and David Ormerod QC
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date: 26 March 2023

p. 48112. Parties to crimelocked

p. 48112. Parties to crimelocked

  • John ChildJohn ChildSenior Lecturer in Criminal Law, Birmingham Law School
  •  and David OrmerodDavid OrmerodLaw Commissioner for England and Wales, Professor of Criminal Justice at University College London


This chapter examines the criminal liability of parties to a crime. Where D involves herself in the crime of another, and that crime is completed, D may not just be liable for her inchoate role, but may be additionally liable as an accomplice. As such, she is labelled and punished in the same way as the principal. This chapter begins with an overview of the current law of complicity and the circumstances where uncertainty can emerge in determining whether D is a principal or an accomplice. It then considers the elements of complicity by aiding, abetting, counselling, or procuring; the abolition of complicity by joint enterprise; the relationship between complicity and inchoate liability; and available defences. It outlines options for legal reform concerning complicity and the potential application of complicity within a problem question. Relevant cases are highlighted throughout the chapter, with brief summaries of the main facts and judgments.

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