The term ‘self-defence’ is a legal doctrine that states that a person has the right to use reasonable force to defend themselves in the event of an attack. The legislation surrounding self-defence arises from both common law and the Criminal Law Act of 1967. Under this legislation, self-defence is regarded as a ‘justification’ rather than an ‘excuse’ In these instances, if a person acts truly in self-defence then their actions are not deemed as a crime. As the lawyers’ practitioner’s text (Archbold 19-41) states;
“It is both good law and good sense that a man who is attacked may defend himself. It is both good law and good sense that he may do, but only do, what is reasonably necessary.”
This common law approach is also relevant to the application of section 3 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 which states;
“A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large”.