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Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law

Ashworth's Principles of Criminal Law (9th edn)

Jeremy Horder
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date: 28 November 2023

p. 3159. Non-fatal violations of the personlocked

p. 3159. Non-fatal violations of the personlocked

  • Jeremy HorderJeremy HorderProfessor of Criminal Law, London School of Economics and Political Science


This chapter discusses two main forms of physical violation: the use of physical force, and sexual interference. The first part covers non-fatal physical offences (offences against the person), including the contested question of the limits of consent, and possible reforms of the law. There have been numerous recommendations for reform of this area of the law, including Law Commission proposals in the recent past. The second part is devoted to the law of sexual offences under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, focusing on the main offences and the definition of consent. It concludes with a review of the law’s successes and failures. Arguably, whilst the law’s basic definition of rape is much improved, the 2003 Act falls down in relation to many other problems that it was meant to solve.

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