An examination of defences in Scots law where homicide has been preceded by domestic abuse: the potential introduction of a specific ‘Domestic Abuse’ defence

Marsh, Clare A. (2023) An examination of defences in Scots law where homicide has been preceded by domestic abuse: the potential introduction of a specific ‘Domestic Abuse’ defence. LL.M(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis provides an examination of legal defences to homicide in Scots law, focussing specifically on their operation and application in the context of intimate partner homicide which has been preceded by domestic abuse. Approached from a perspective informed by the theory of coercive control as a form of abuse, it provides a review of existing defences - considering self-defence, provocation and diminished responsibility - and how these are accessed by victims of abuse who kill their abusers.

There are a number of issues with the current formulation of homicide defences which prevent an accused in this context from successfully relying on them. These issues will be presented, leading to a consideration of how defences may be reformed in order to address current shortcomings. This involves a consideration of how homicide defences have been reformed in other jurisdictions, and the potential introduction of a specific ‘domestic abuse’ defence for such cases.

A central aim of this thesis is to appropriately contextualise cases in which victims of abuse kill their abusers. Throughout, it is argued that both general understanding of and legal responses to such cases are not informed by empirical reality. It is intended that the contextualisation provided in this work – namely that women’s experiences of homicide occur within an overarching context of male violence, and that the majority of cases where women kill their abusers occur during an ongoing attack - informs more robust legal analysis and consideration of these cases, thus providing preferable outcomes for victims of abuse. This work offers an account cognizant of gender and gender inequality, and how this influences legal responses to domestic abuse – as such, the extent to which legal change alone can address the gender inequality which is central to domestic abuse will also be discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (LL.M(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Supported by funding from the Clark Foundation for Legal Education.
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales > KDC Scotland
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Mcpherson, Dr. Rachel
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83363
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2023 10:41
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2023 10:42
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83363

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