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John Child

John is a lecturer at the Law School at the University of Sussex. Previously he was a lecturer at the Oxford Brookes Law School. He completed his PhD at the University of Birmingham. He also worked as a research assistant on the Criminal Law Team at the Law Commission for England and Wales.

It is sensible for the criminal law to target those who participate in the crimes of others. For example, where James pays Lucy to kill Fred, or provides Femi with a gun so that he can rob the local bank, James has not committed murder or robbery directly, but his actions are surely those that the law should punish. Indeed, when we consider the dangers of organised and/or gang related crimes, as well as the growing interconnectedness of the modern world, it may be increasingly important for the criminal law to possess the tools necessary to break up criminal networks and punish them when they come to light. However, in response to these legitimate aims and concerns, the current law has developed (in courts and through Parliament) in a manner that is striking for its inadequacy. In his talk ‘Guilt by association: Participating in the crime of another’, he will provide an overview of the current law and its recent journey of reform, he will highlight the areas of current incoherence and unfairness, and begin to sketch some ways forward.