skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 161668 Find in a Library
Title: Permissible Killing: The Self-Defense Justification of Homicide
Author(s): S Uniacke
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 253
Sponsoring Agency: Cambridge University Press
Cambridge, CB2 IRP, England
Publication Number: ISBN 0-521-45408-5
Sale Source: Cambridge University Press
The Pitt Building
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 IRP,
United Kingdom
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This book identifies and discusses the principles relevant to self-defense as a justification for homicide.
Abstract: Some of the issues examined are whether individuals have a positive right to self-defense, and if so, the limits of this right; and under what conditions, if any, does this use of force extend to the defense of others. The author establishes a unitary right of self-defense and defense of others, one which grounds the permissibility of the use of necessary and proportionate defensive force against culpable and nonculpable, active and passive unjust threats. Topics discussed include the nature of moral and legal justification and excuse, natural-law justifications for homicide in self-defense, the principle of double effect and the claim that homicide in self-defense is justified as unintended killing, and the issue of self- preferential killing. The author notes that self-defense is not essentially a punitive act nor is it an attempt to bring about optimal results; rather, it is the act of resisting, repelling, or warding off an immediate threat. The conditions of necessary and proportionate force are moral limits of the right of self- defense. Where the use of lethal force is not defensive, the conditions of necessary and proportionate force, together with lack of intention to kill, are insufficient to permit self- preference. A 168-item bibliography and a subject index
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Defense; Homicide; Justifiable homicide; Lawful use of force; Self defense
Note: From the Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Law
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.