Organised Crime and the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010

Liz Campbell

Research output: Working paper


Describing and defining organised crime, in an effort to criminalise and punish it, poses significant theoretical and legal problems. Nonetheless, the Scottish Parliament addressed this issue in the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010, in the first such legislative effort in the United Kingdom.

The 2010 Act defines the foundational concept of “serious organised crime”, and includes a number of separate provisions predicated on it, concerning involvement, direction, and failure to report, as well as sentence aggravation. This paper presents a critical appraisal of the definition of “serious organised crime” in the first instance, and then of each of these provisions. The analysis is both doctrinal and normative, and raises a number of concerns, centring on scope, necessity and effectiveness. Overall, the provisions are expansive and capture some unproblematic actions; they often duplicate existing law; and their value in addressing this particular type of crime has yet to be established.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh, School of Law, Working Papers
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • criminal law
  • organised crime
  • Scotland
  • Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010


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