Self-defence and the Right to Life: the Use of Lethal Or Potentially Lethal Force, UK Domestic Law, the Common Law and Article 2 ECHR

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

195 Downloads (Pure)


The issue of the use of fatal force by state actors and its compatibility with the state’s duty to protect life was given a high public and judicial profile in the recent Grand Chamber’s decision in Armani Da Silva v United Kingdom, involving the killing of Charles de Menezes in 2005 when he was mistaken for a suicide bomber some two weeks after the London bombings. Whilst that case provides the context for discussion on the use of fatal force, this article focusses on two recent High Court decisions - R (Davis) v Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis and R (Collins) v Secretary of State for Justice - that raised self-defence and the law’s compatibility with the state’s duty to protect life. The article proceeds by drawing out the facts of each case, then turns to the law of self-defence in English domestic law and its use in these two cases. It then examines the compatibility of both use of force by state actors in both Davis (and Da Silva), and the use of force by private homeowners in Collins, with art. 2 ECHR, and in particular whether the UK’s framework for self-defence is art.2 compatible.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-410
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Human Rights Law Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


Cite this