Just for Kids Law is a charity specialising in representing and supporting children and young people in legal difficulty, including in the criminal justice system.
As well as giving individual support, a key part of what we do is strategic litigation, where we bring carefully-selected legal cases over issues which affect large numbers of young people.
On Tuesday 27 October 2015, we are intervening in the Supreme Court case of Jogee, which involves a challenge to the controversial doctrine of joint enterprise.
Joint enterprise has emerged over recent years as a key concern of our young clients. Since 2011, we have been researching this issue, including contributing submissions to the House of Commons Justice Committee in February that year.
Our intervention in Jogee argues that children and adolescents do not have the same ability to predict events or understand the consequences of theirs and other people’s actions, in the way that an adult would. One of the fundamental principles of joint enterprise is that an individual foresaw that an associate of theirs was likely to commit an offence.
Our evidence to the court includes research from academics at Cambridge University demonstrating that because they lack the necessary cognitive development, young people may have genuine difficulties in foreseeing and therefore avoiding situations which may have the potential to escalate.
Our evidence to the court states:
‘A legal principle that is intended to deter potential offenders from committing offences needs to be readily understood by those at whom it is directed. If it cannot be because it is incoherent, and because those at whom it is aimed may have difficulties in understanding and acting upon it, it needs to be reviewed.’
Just for Kids Law is being represented pro bono by Francis FitzGibbon QC Caoilfhionn Gallagher, and Daniella Waddoup of Doughty Street and Joanne Cecil of Garden Court Chambers.
Notes for editors
- R v Jogee UKSC 2015/0015 and Judicial College of the Privy Council Appeal in Ruddock v The Queen JCPC 2015/0020
- Joint enterprise is a common law doctrine where an individual can be jointly convicted of the crime of another, if the court decides they foresaw that the other party was likely to commit that crime.
- There are two interveners in this case, Just for Kids Law and the campaign group JENGbA. http://www.jointenterprise.co
- An intervention in a case happens where the court grants permission to one or more third-parties, which are not acting for either side in a dispute, to submit expert evidence which the judges believe may be helpful to them in reaching an informed decision.
- Just for Kids Law previously intervened in the Supreme Court case of Tigere, in July 2015.
- The appellant in the Jogee case is an adult. Just for Kids Law’s intervention is on the basis that the joint enterprise doctrine has a disproportionate impact on young people, because of the numbers of them who are currently affected by it.
- Our submissions are accompanied by submissions from three academics at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, Dr Ben Crewe (Reader in Penology and Deputy Director of the Prisons Research Centre, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge); Dr Susie Hulley (Research Associate, Research Centre, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge); and Dr Serena Wright (Research Associate, Research Centre, Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge).