Chapter 7
Proposals to reform self-defence


7.1In the preceding chapter, we concluded that legislative reform was necessary to address problems with the concept of imminence when self-defence is claimed by victims of family violence. We also observed the need for the jury, in considering a claim of self-defence by a victim of family violence, to have a full understanding of the dynamics of the violent relationship including the history of violence, the defendant’s prior responses to that violence and the effects of the violence on the defendant. Without a full appreciation of all the circumstances, a jury may find it difficult to believe the defendant’s account or to understand the defendant’s use of force as reasonable.

7.2In this chapter, we consider the options for reform and make recommendations to:

7.3In making these proposals for reform, we have drawn on the experiences of comparable jurisdictions and on the substantial body of literature on this issue. We also refer to the Law Commission’s previous recommendations in the 2001 Report.