Law Commission to review defences in cases of domestic homicide

woman crying

The Law Commission today announces a new project that will review the use of defences in domestic homicide cases. The Law Commission has been asked to do this work by the Government in their response to Clare Wade KC’s Domestic Homicide Sentencing Review.

Despite reform to partial defences to murder intended to recognise the context in which a victim of domestic abuse kills their abuser, there remain questions about whether the operation of defences to murder in this context, from police investigation to trial, achieves just outcomes

In this project we will consider the use of defences in domestic homicide in light of modern understandings of the effects of domestic abuse on victims. This will include consideration of the impact of different victims’ experience in this context, including but not limited to their culture, religion, sexuality, disability, and migrant status. For example, we will consider where relevant, the use of defences in domestic homicide in the context of so-called honour-based abuse. This project will not consider sentencing.

This is a complex area of great importance. It is important that the law in this area properly reflects the context where domestic abuse is a key feature of homicide cases.

The Law Commission will begin by undertaking initial research and scoping. The substantive work towards a consultation on provisional proposals for reform will start in Spring 2024.

More information is available here.