Legal history has been made today - the law of joint enterprise as we know it is dead.
This was a law which allowed someone to be sent to prison for life merely because he or she foresaw what someone else might do. We said that it was a “lazy” law, a short-cut to conviction which confused juries and judges alike and which has resulted in widespread miscarriages of justice for decades.
For more than five years, JENGbA has campaigned tirelessly for change. The Supreme Court has listened and we have been vindicated.
Gloria Morrison of JENGbA said:
“It has the taken the hard work of many people over many years to get to this stage but we were never in any doubt that reform would come. The more we talked to people about joint enterprise, the more they became convinced that it had to change. We are grateful to the Justice Select Committee for their work. Their call for a change in the law was a turning point. There are many academics, lawyers and journalists who have helped us along the way. We wish to thank them all but in particular, we are indebted to our patrons, Lord Herman Ouseley and Jimmy McGovern, whose drama Common brought home to millions the injustice that the law of joint enterprise caused.
JENGbA has achieved one of its central aims, but our job is far from over. There are huge numbers of prisoners, many serving life sentences, who have been convicted under a law which the Supreme Court has acknowledged was a “wrong turn”. This judgement will offer new hope to them, to their families and their friends. We will fight to overturn every wrongful conviction.”
Simon Natas of ITN Solicitors, JENGbA’s lawyer said:
“This is a great day for justice. The Court unanimously ruled that the principle of liability based on foresight was fundamentally wrong; the product of an “incomplete and in some respects erroneous reading of the previous case law” which could not be justified on public policy grounds. In short, the law was unfair, set the bar for conviction far too low and quite simply, did not work. The law was always indefensible, but now it has been confined to history. ”