A Philosophically Enriched Exegesis of Criminal Accessorial Liability

Mark Dsouza


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The central features of the English criminal law’s approach to the liability of principal offender are fairly clear, coherent, and settled. By contrast, the English law of criminal accessorial liability is notoriously lacking in these qualities. In this paper, I attempt to correct this imbalance by developing a philosophically enriched exegesis (and where appropriate, critique) of the English law on criminal accessorial liability, by reference to the structures of responsibility underpinning English criminal law. I take
the relatively settled state of the English criminal law of principal liability to suggest that it is a good guide to these underlying structures. Therefore, using these rules (as adjusted for the differences in context between liability as a principal and liability as an accessory) as a template, I evaluate the English law of criminal accessorial liability.


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