Legal Policy

This committee will investigate standalone policy issues that lead to miscarriages of justice and, in particular, joint enterprise. Under the controversial common law doctrine, the prosecution can seek a murder conviction if it can prove that a secondary defendant (i.e., someone other than the person wielding the knife) foresaw the ‘possibility’ that death might occur. Find out more about Joint Enterprise via The Justice Gap.

Critics argue that the law acts as ‘a dragnet’, disproportionately hoovering up young black men in its wake and criminalising them. Up to half of those convicted under joint enterprise were from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, according to the 2017 Lammy review. The problematic nature of joint enterprise was recognised by the Supreme Court in 2016. ‘The courts took a wrong turn in 1984,’ ruled Lord Neuberger in the case of Jogee

Despite the widely held expectation that the courts would fix the problem, only one person has had their conviction overturned as a result of the ruling. Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy has promised to change the ‘shoddy law’.