Students at Cardiff University’s Law School are to assist a campaign to reform the doctrine of joint enterprise, which critics claim has led to many wrongful convictions in the UK.
Described by critics as a “lazy law”, joint enterprise imputes criminal liability on all the participants to a criminal enterprise for all that results from that enterprise.
JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty By Association) is a campaigning organisation set up in 2010 to press for reform of joint enterprise and its alleged indiscriminate application, which it claims often leads to unjust consequences.
In order to collect statistics on the extent of joint enterprise convictions in the UK, the law school and JENGbA have devised and sent a questionnaire to over 320 prisoners on JENGbA’s database.
Law students at Cardiff will work under academic staff supervision, aiming to identify the range of situations where joint enterprise occurs and to look at the kind of evidence that is used in joint enterprise cases.
Dr Dennis Eady, who founded South Wales Liberty and is jointly heading up the project at Cardiff, says “This research project data will come from the perspective of convicted people who have been maintaining innocence for many years. It is a pro bono rather than a fully-funded formal research project. But we hope that it will provide a platform for serious discussion and further research”.
Gloria Morrison, campaign director for JENGbA said “Our own research will be a key tool in convincing MPs and campaigners for justice of the reality of the problem. I genuinely believe that findings from this questionnaire are going to be the biggest asset to the campaign so far”.