‘Duress of circumstances and voluntary association’: R v Phair [2022] NICA 66

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John Taggart


duress, duress of circumstances, duress of threats, necessity


In the case of R v Phair, the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal was tasked with interpreting the scope and application of the comparatively recent criminal defence of ‘duress of circumstances’. While the defence of duress by threats is well established, duress of circumstances has received comparatively little judicial or academic attention. The judgment provides important clarification on the doctrinal and theoretical underpinnings of the defence. Further, the decision is instructive as to how courts should approach the limitation of ‘voluntary association’ which may operate to prevent a defendant successfully pleading the defence.

Abstract 138 | NILQ 74.2.7 Taggart Downloads 84