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 of the Criminal Law Act 1967.



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".


CRIMINAL LAW ACT 1967 - Section 3

provides that "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 suspect offenders or of persons unlawfully at large".

Click here to Learn about the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

Understanding Reasonable Force Self-defence in Criminal Law by Boaz Sangero

click here to read about weapons

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Updated: Friday, 10 September 2010