“to What Extent Does English Law Allow a Person to Consent to Physical Injury’”.

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Consent can be a defence to all non-fatal offences and possibly even to homicides, however a person cannot consent to their own death. In the majority of cases, it is assumed that all physical contact is an assault unless a specific defense is applied, whereas the minority state that you cannot consent to an assault. The approach differs depending on the theme of consent that is being investigated. In cases relating to sexual activity and sadomasochist behavior, the law tends to take a more paternalistic approach protecting individuals from themselves, as seen in Boyea where it was held that the victim could not possibly consent to such serious harm, even though she consented to the original act. However when it comes to married couples there seems to be a more laissez faire approach as illustrated in the case of Wilson where a husband branded his initials onto his wife’s buttocks, yet it was held that sexual activity between husband and wife in the privacy of their own home is not matter for criminal investigation. In relation to horseplay cases, the courts more frequently take the laissez-faire approach, assuming that there was no intention to cause harm, which can be demonstrated in the case of Jones. When it comes to sport, the courts say that physical injury is an inevitable risk of this and that those participating in it consent to this possibility. The courts will have a laissez- faire attitude if the injury is no more than you would expect for the type of sport and when the injury is not sufficiently serious. For example in Barnes, a seriously leg injury was not held to be serious enough for criminal proceedings. However it is when the incident goes beyond the rules and regulations of the sport where there is potential for criminal liability, for example in Billinghurst, the victim broke his jaw in two places and it was decided that he could not

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