16 November, 2007

Defences – Consent and Self Defence

Filed under: A2-Level,additional reading,domestic law,Fatal Offences — legaleasy @ 7:07 pm

W/E 16th November 2007

This week we finished Module 4 by looking at the defences of consent and self defence.

Self Defence

Under the common law a person can use reasonable force to defend themselves, another person or property. It is a complete defence and leads to acquittal.

The jury need to look at the facts of a case to ascertain whether a defendant has used reasonable force or not. If a defendant uses excessive force the defence will fail as in Clegg and Martin.

It is not necessary for the defendant to be attacked first for the defence of self defence to be successful.

If you make a mistake about needing to protect yourself then you are judged on what you honestly believed the facts to be. However, there is no defence as to drunken defence.


The general rule is that you cannot consent to actual bodily harm or worse being inflicted upon you.

There are recognised exceptions. You will need to know these for the exam. These are;

1. properly conducted games and sports;

2. lawful chastisement;

3. reasonable surgical interference;

4. dangerous exhibitions etc.

The courts will also take into account public interest – as in the case of Brown.

The consent must also be real.

Additional Reading

Please refer to your revision guides. You need to know the case examples for the exam. Again I would urge you to read a good quality newspaper and keep up to date with the news.


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