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Killing in Self-Defence$
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Fiona Leverick

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199283460

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199283460.001.0001

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(p.69) 4 Retreat
Killing in Self-Defence

Fiona Leverick

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the issue of whether the law of self-defence should contain a retreat requirement, drawing on the rights based analysis of the defence presented in Chapter 3. The various options for the law of self-defence in relation to retreat are examined — no retreat rule, a strong retreat rule, a weak retreat rule, and an absolute retreat rule — before the conclusion is reached that the strong retreat rule is the most appropriate option as this pays maximum respect to the right to life of both the aggressor and the victim of the attack. It is argued that a retreat rule should apply even when the attack takes place in the victim's home, providing that retreat can be safely accomplished without any danger to the victim. The chapter also examines the approaches taken to retreat in self-defence in the major common law jurisdictions.

Keywords:   retreat rule, retreat from the home, weak retreat rule, strong retreat rule, law relating to retreat in self-defence

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