English Law of Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person: Outline and Case Summaries

15 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2021 Last revised: 10 Mar 2021

Date Written: January 22, 2021


This paper outlines important provisions of England's Offences Against the Person Act 1861. This Victorian statute is still the operative authority for non-fatal offences against the person of greater seriousness than assault or battery. These include assault occasioning actual bodily harm (section 47), maliciously wounding or inflicting grievous bodily harm (section 20), and intentionally wounding or causing grievous bodily harm (section 18). The paper provides summaries of important cases dealing with each of these provisions. It also defines and distinguishes each of the levels harm addressed by the statute: actual bodily harm (ABH), a wound, and grievous bodily harm (GBH). Finally, the paper offers readers a one-page summary of the cases and a one-page chart explaining the hierarchy of harm among the non-fatal offences (including assault and battery) using case law.

This paper aims to elucidate a confusing area of law through case summaries. Relevant cases date from 1849 to 2014. Quotations from the cases, including famous judicial pronouncements, are incorporated into the discussion. The outline and case summaries are intended to succinctly and accurately explain the law.

Keywords: non-fatal offences, occasioning, inflict, actual bodily harm, ABH, grievous bodily harm, GBH, wounding, offences against the person act 1861, OAPA, criminal law case summaries, case summaries

Suggested Citation

Chisholm, Neil, English Law of Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person: Outline and Case Summaries (January 22, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3771131 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3771131

Neil Chisholm (Contact Author)

Sungkyunkwan University ( email )

53 Myeongnyun-dong 3-ga
Seoul, 110-745
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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