NOTE: Civil Aiding and Abetting Liability Skip over navigation
LexisNexis® Browse Law Reviews and Treatises
Skip over navigation
Sign in with your® ID to access the full text of this article.
Order the full text of this article if you do not have a® ID.
US $22.00 (+ tax)

Copyright (c) 2005 Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt Law Review

NOTE: Civil Aiding and Abetting Liability

January, 2005

Vanderbilt Law Review

58 Vand. L. Rev. 241


Nathan Isaac Combs*


II. Introduction
Criminal liability for aiding and abetting constitutes an ancient doctrine of criminal law. 2 Commentators describing English law at the beginning of the fourteenth century recognized that "the law of homicide is quite wide enough to comprise ... those who have "procured, counseled, commanded or abetted' the felony...for it is colloquially said that he sufficiently kills who advises." 3 In 1909, Congress enacted a general aiding and abetting statute applicable to all federal criminal offenses. 4

Civil liability for aiding and abetting, however, represents a very underdeveloped theory within common law tort. 5 Courts have stated, seemingly in jest, that precedents in this area of law are "largely confined to isolated acts of adolescents in rural society." 6 Notwithstanding the banter, there is recognition that "the implications of tort law in this area as a supplement to the criminal justice process and possibly as a deterrent to criminal activity cannot be casually dismissed." 7 With continued development, the theory of civil aiding and abetting presents the availability of an improved law of torts, better able to provide justice for private victims of crime and tort. 8

Recent cases illustrate the ability of the civil theory of aiding and abetting to reach conduct that likely would not be privately actionable otherwise. Two such cases are Rice v. Paladin Enterprises, Inc. 9 and Boim v. Quranic Literacy Institute. 10

In Rice, the Fourth Circuit held that the First Amendment does not pose a bar to civil liability for ...
If you are interested in obtaining a® ID and Password, please contact us at 1-(800)-227-4908 or visit us at
Search Documents
eg., Environmental Insurance Coverage Under the Comprehensive General Liability Policy

Lexis® Web - The only search engine that delivers free web content specifically from legal sites validated by LexisNexis® attorney editors and includes tools for faster research and more relevant results.

LexisNexis Store
Research Now - Go to
Connect the Dots - Free 1 hour webcast
Share. Network. Discover. - Go to LexisNexis Communities