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Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law

Smith, Hogan and Ormerod's Essentials of Criminal Law (5th edn)

John Child and David Ormerod
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date: 12 June 2024

p. 50912. Parties to crimelocked

p. 50912. Parties to crimelocked

  • David OrmerodDavid OrmerodProfessor of Criminal Justice, University College London Deputy High Court Judge Barrister, Bencher of Middle Temple
  •  and John ChildJohn ChildProfessor of Criminal Law, Birmingham Law School Co-Director of the Birmingham Centre for Crime, Justice and Policing Co-Director of the Criminal Law Reform Now Network


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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