Defences in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • R v Antoine
    • House of Lords
    • 30 March 2000

    If there is objective evidence which raises the issue of mistake or accident or self-defence, then the jury should not find that the defendant did the "act" unless it is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt on all the evidence that the prosecution has negatived that defence.

  • R v Graham (Paul)
    • Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)
    • 18 December 1981

    As a matter of public policy, it seems to us essential to limit the defence of duress by means of an objective criterion formulated in terms of reasonableness. In provocation the words or actions of one person break the self-control of another. In duress the words or actions of one person break the will of another. The law requires a defendant to have the self-control reasonably to be expected of the ordinary citizen in his situation.

    The Crown having conceded that the issue of duress was open to the appellant and was raised on the evidence, the correct approach on the facts of this case would have been as follows: (1) Was the defendant, or may he have been, impelled to act as he did because, as a result of what he reasonably believed King had said or done, he had good cause to fear that if he did not so act King would kill him or (if this is to be added) cause him serious physical injury?

  • Kleinwort Benson Ltd v Lincoln City Council
    • House of Lords
    • 29 October 1998

    I would therefore conclude on Issue (1) that the mistake of law rule should no longer be maintained as part of English law, and that English law should now recognise that there is a general right to recover money paid under a mistake, whether of fact or law, subject to the defences available in the law of restitution.

    To me, it is plain that the money was indeed paid over under a mistake, the mistake being a mistake of law. The payer believed, when he paid the money, that he was bound in law to pay it. He is now told that, on the law as held to be applicable at the date of the payment, he was not bound to pay it. Plainly, therefore, he paid the money under a mistake of law, and accordingly, subject to any applicable defences, he is entitled to recover it.

    Of course, I recognise that the law of restitution must embody specific defences which are concerned to protect the stability of closed transactions. The defence of change of position is one such defence; the defences of compromise, and settlement of an honest claim (the scope of which is a matter of debate), are others. It is based on the theory that a payment made on that basis is not made under a mistake at all.

  • Woolwich Equitable Building Society v Commissioners of Inland Revenue
    • House of Lords
    • 20 July 1992

    I would therefore hold that money paid by a citizen to a public authority in the form of taxes or other levies paid pursuant to an ultra vires demand by the authority is prima facie recoverable by the citizen as of right.

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  • Defamation Act 2013
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2013
    ... ... (4) (b) a statement is a “privileged statement” if the person responsible for its publication would have one or more of the following defences if an action for defamation were brought in respect of it—(a) a defence under section 4 (publication on matter of public interest) ;(b) a defence ... ...
  • Serious Crime Act 2015
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 2015
    ... ... Offence under paragraph 2: defences ... 3(1) This paragraph applies where a person ("the defendant") is charged with an offence under paragraph 2 as a result of the inclusion of any ... ...
  • Border Defences Act 1580
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1580
  • Canvey Island, Sea Defences Act 1792
    • UK Non-devolved
    • January 01, 1792
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Defences
    • Contents
    • Drink and Drug Drive Case Notes
    • Pauline M Callow
    • 450-469
  • Mapping Defamation Defences
    • No. 78-4, July 2015
    • The Modern Law Review
    The general neglect of tort defences is most significant in defamation actions. This paper attempts to reduce to a few guiding principles the numerous, and apparently unrelated, doctrines recognise...
  • Book Review: Criminal Defences
    • No. 18-2, June 1985
    • Journal of Criminology (formerly Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology)
  • Strengthening the offshore defences against economic crime and abuse
    • No. 10-4, October 2003
    • Journal of Financial Crime
    • 387-391
    Reports some recent activities within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which aim to strengthen defences against international economic crime, focusing on offshore fi...
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Law Firm Commentaries
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