The defence of joint illegal enterprise
The High Court has reserved judgement in an appeal against the decision of the Western Australian Court of Appeal in Miller v Miller (2009) 54 MVR 367. This appeal calls into question the defence of joint illegal enterprise, which is an answer to liability in the tort of negligence. It is with this appeal that this article is concerned. Two main arguments are presented. The first is that the defence is framed in a highly unsatisfactory way. It is governed by nonsensical rules, many of which are inconsistent with fundamental principles of tort law. Accordingly, should the High Court retain the defence, it is submitted that it should reformulate it so that it blends in with the legal environment in which it resides. The second and more fundamental argument is that the defence should be abolished. It is a stain on the law of torts. Not only are there no convincing arguments in support of it, but there are powerful reasons against its existence.
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