Criminal Law and Philosophy

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 151–156 | Cite as

Complicity beyond Causality

A Comment
  • Lindsay FarmerEmail author
Original Paper

What does it mean to claim that a person is complicit in the actions of another? And is the relation between principal and accomplice a core or paradigm form of participatory liability? These issues are central to legal, political and moral responsibility, and there is much in Gardner’s discussion of the concept of complicity that illuminates our understanding of these and related questions. Notwithstanding this, I have also to confess that I found his argument somewhat elusive. First, it seems to me that beginning with the quotation from Solzhenitsyn, and reading it in the way that he does, sets somewhat artificial limits on the content of complicity. He uses this to argue that the ‘true’ form of complicity is where an accomplice causes a principal to act, and other forms of contribution to wrongdoing are thereby excluded. What is distinctive about the accomplice, he argues, is that she makes a difference to the actions of the principal. While this may be a morally sustainable...


Legal Institution Legal Responsibility Political Legitimacy Causal Contribution British Court 
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Thanks to Scott Veitch, Tatjana Hörnle and Tom Sorell for comments on the comment

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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