GC: n

S: UNCHARTER – (last access: 12 November 2014); (last access: 12 November 2014).

N: 1. self-defence (n): 1650s, “act of defending oneself,” first attested in Hobbes, from self- + defense. In sports sense, first with reference to fencing (1728), then boxing (1820s).
self-: word forming element indicating “oneself,” also “automatic,” from Old English use of self (pron.) in compounds, such as selfbana “suicide,” selflice “self-love, pride, vanity, egotism,” selfwill “free will.”
defence: c.1300, “forbidding, prohibition,” also “action of guarding or protecting,” from Old French defense, from Latin defensus, past participle of defendere “ward off, protect”. But it also arrived (without the final -e) from Old French defens, from Latin defensum “thing protected or forbidden,” neuter past participle of defendere.
3. It is a universally accepted principle that a person may protect themselves from harm under appropriate circumstances, even when that behavior would normally constitute a crime.
4. As a general rule, self-defense only justifies the use of force when it is used in response to an immediate threat.
5. Sometimes self-defense is justified even if the perceived aggressor didn’t actually mean the perceived victim any harm. What matters in these situations is whether a “reasonable man” in the same situation would have perceived an immediate threat of physical harm.
6. In the field of Common Law: The right that exists to protect one’s person, or member of one’s family, and, to a lesser extent, one’s property, from harm by an aggressor. It may be a valid defence to a criminal charge or to tort liability.
7. In the field of Penal Law: Killing a person in self-defence.
8. In the field of Offences and crimes: (The criminal code at section 34(1) mentioned:) Every one who is unlawfully assaulted without having provoked the assault is justified in repelling force by force if the force he uses is not intended to cause death or grievous bodily harm and is no more than is necessary to enable him to defend himself.
9. In the field of International Law: Action indispensable to forestall an imminent threat to a right or to redress the actual violation of such a right. One of the seven fundamental principles of international law.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 12 November 2014); (last access: 12 November 2014). 2, 3, 4. FL – Find Law. (last access: 12 November 2014). 5. GDT. 6, 7, 8 & 9. TERMIUMPLUS.

GV: self-defense


SIN: self-protection, self-help. (Both synonyms in the field of International Law)


RC: International Criminal Law