In Defense of Self-Defence in Criminal Law and on Killing in Self-Defence – A Reply to Fiona Leverick
Criminal Law Bulletin, Vol. 44, p. 3, 2008
34 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2010 Last revised: 12 Sep 2010
Date Written: July 31, 2010
Recently, Fiona Leverick published a review of my book, "Self-Defence in Criminal Law." In the same year that my book was released, Leverick published her own monograph on this subject, "Killing in Self-Defence." We basically take two different approaches to the subject of self-defense. One approach seeks only “permission” for killing and views the right to life as a sufficient rationale. The other approach seeks a justification for self-defense and proposes a more complex rationale suited to all cases of self-defense and not just the extreme situation of a life versus a life. This rationale is based on three main factors operating to justify the act of the defender: the autonomy of the attacked person, the guilt of the aggressor, and the social-legal order. The first approach is so harsh with the defender that it requires him to accept even serious physical injury. In contrast, the second approach gives proper weight to the three aforesaid factors, and is therefore more liberal with the defender and allows the defender to use greater defensive force than (although, not force that is out of all proportion to) the force used by the aggressor.
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