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Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law Volume 4$
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John Gardner, Leslie Green, and Brian Leiter

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780192848871

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780192848871.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

Against Accomplice Liability

Against Accomplice Liability

(p.124) 5 Against Accomplice Liability
Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Law Volume 4

Alex Kaiserman

Oxford University Press

Accomplice liability makes people guilty of crimes they knowingly helped or encouraged others to commit, even if they did not commit the crime themselves. But this method of criminalizing aiders and abettors is fraught with problems. In this chapter, I argue that accomplice liability in the criminal law should be replaced with a system in which agents are criminalized on the basis of their individual contributions to causings of harm—the larger the contribution, the more severe the crime—regardless of whether those contributions were made “through” the actions of another person. Not only would this avoid the issues associated with making the guilt of accomplices parasitic on the guilt of the principal, it would also fill gaps in the law concerning other cases to which accomplice liability does not apply.

Keywords:   complicity, causation, liability, responsibility, criminal law

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