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Southampton Law School

Southampton Law students investigate controversial joint enterprise laws

Published: 17 September 2018

In 2018 a group of students from the School worked with the national campaign, JENGbA (Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association). JENGbA’s sustained campaigning resulted in the Supreme Court reaching a landmark decision acknowledging that the law on joint enterprise had been misinterpreted by the courts for over 30 years. High profile prosecutions under this legislation include those convicted of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, but also many young people who campaigners argue were little more than ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’.

Southampton Law students were involved in a project to review cases to consider whether there was a realistic prospect of a successful appeal given the recent legal judgments and related thresholds. The students’ initial evaluation of the cases enabled JENGbA to identify cases to be prioritized by solicitors involved in the campaign.

A substantial further investigation of cases is now being developed, building on this important initial work.

Leading the project was Dr Harry Annison, expert in Criminal Law and Criminology, who said of the project ‘I was very pleased to be able to offer Southampton Law Students this opportunity to engage in pro bono work that applies the legal concepts and debates explored in Criminal Law to real cases. I know that the students found this incredibly stimulating, and has enriched their understanding of criminal justice, as well as giving them valuable skills and experiences to draw on in their future careers.’ 

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