Karate Issues - English Law

The English law relating to the use of force on another by a member of the public can be found under two main headings. The first being Common Law and the second being Section 3 Criminal Law Act 1967.

Common Law
It is a well established principle of English law that a person is entitled to use ‘reasonable force’ to defend themselves against attack. A person may defend themselves or others in certain circumstances by the use of pre-emptive force.

Although common law is unwritten it is accepted that:

"If you had an ‘honestly held belief’ that you or another are in imminent danger, then you may use such force that is ‘reasonable and necessary’ to avert that danger".

Section 3, CRIMINAL LAW ACT 1967

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 persons unlawfully at large.

Criminal Law Act 1967

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