Joint enterprise refers to legal principles on the use of the law of complicity.
Through these principles, multiple individuals can be convicted for an offence without taking into account their differing roles or even whether some individuals were present.
The support charity JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association) estimates it is currently in contact with around 1,000 prisoners convicted through joint enterprise, many of whom are subject to very lengthy prison sentences.
It’s been five years since we published Dangerous Associations, a collaboration between academics, campaigners and us on joint enterprise convictions. This report drew attention to the racially biased and discriminatory practices the prosecution of such cases entailed as well as to the low threshold for their use.
Over the next 15 months we’ll be working JENGbA to obtain and analyse information about current practices in joint enterprise convictions, building up a picture about who is being prosecuted, and working alongside others to clarify ongoing concerns and injustices in this controversial area and shape responses to these. This work is supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust.
We’ll be sharing more with you more about what we’ve learnt to date, what we have planned, and updates from others working in this field.
If you have come across joint enterprise in your work, we are keen to hear your views and experiences.
If this sounds like something you could help with – be it through prosecution, legal representation, advocacy and front line support work, or work with children and young people – or if you just want to know more about the project, drop us a line.