Is English self-defence law incompatible with Article 2 of the ECHR?

Fiona Leverick

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper assesses the claim that in allowing a defendant to plead self-defence on the basis of an honest but unreasonable belief that she was being attacked, English self-defence law is incompatible with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to life. The case law surrounding Article 2 is examined and it is concluded that English self-defence law is indeed incompatible with Article 2 and that the European Court of Human Rights missed an opportunity to declare this when it misunderstood the nature of English law in Caraher v. United Kingdom. Given that the Human Rights Act is now in force, a number of ways in which this conclusion might be put to practical effect by the relatives of those who have been killed after being unreasonably mistaken for attackers are suggested.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)347-362
    Number of pages15
    JournalCriminal Law Review
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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