Self defense and protection from claims

Recently the courts saw a very interesting case and a decision by the Supreme Court. An old man who owned a shop had just closed his shop and was going back to his home when his alarm went off, not having reached that far he went back to the shop which was subject to a robbery. He then took it upon himself to stop the robbery and started beating the robbers brutally.

Upon arrival of the police he said that is was for self defense and the prevention of crime. The Supreme Court in its decision said that the force that was used was highly disproportionate to that, which was necessary for his defense and was found guilty of grievous bodily harm.

Strange or not?

The public have a different perception of the idea of self defense and it is pivotal to correct this perception. There has been confusion about what is permitted under the law when an individual is acting in self-defense. Some have even suggested that the law gives more protection to criminals than to honest citizens acting to protect themselves, their family and their homes.

What is permitted by law is that an individual is entitled to protect themselves or others; they may inflict violence and/or use weapons to do so; the level of violence may include killing the assailant; and, an individual may even act preemptively and still be found to have acted in self defense.

A good knowledge of the idea of self defense protects one from any sorts of claims of personal injury, and provides awareness as to the rights of an individual. The modern day society of the UK is one that has developed a compensation culture, people are aware of their rights more than they ever were in the history and this provides difficulties as to what or what not constitutes a valid claim and living in a scared state of mind is a hindrance in productivity of an individual.

Thus to counter this compensation culture one has to be aware of what he can and cannot do.
If a person is prosecuted after having acted or having claimed to act in self defense the courts then look at the same point of law as was mentioned in the above Supreme Court case; was the force used by the individual reasonable in the circumstances as he or she believed them to be?


In conclusion the law as it stands offers wide protection to those people who use violence to protect themselves or others. The nature of this protection is such that an act which could otherwise have constituted a very serious offence becomes lawful. Furthermore, it is the stated intention of the Crown Prosecution Service that individuals who act in this way should not even find themselves in court.