The role of loss of self-control in defences to homicide: a critical analysis of Anglo-Australian developments

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Heather Douglas
Alan Reed


Anglo-Australian provocation defence, homicide, loss of control, Coroners and Justice Act 2009, domestic abuse, coercive control, provocation triggers, serious violence, sexual infidelity, separation, jury directions


The provocation defence has been the subject of legislative reform in England and Australia over the past 10 years. In England, it was abolished by section 56 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 and replaced with a partial defence of loss of control. In Australia, the provocation defence has been abolished in some states and significantly reformed in others. One of the key challenges for law reform has been how to ensure homicide defences are not overly restrictive for abused women who kill their abuser, while at the same time ensuring that homicide defences are not overly expansive for domestic abusers who ultimately kill their partner. With these challenges in mind, we critically examine the operation of the loss of control defence in England. There has been significant reform to the provocation defence across Australia, and, in this article, we also focus on the most recent reforms in Queensland and New South Wales. We conclude with some suggestions for further reform.

Abstract 1366 | NILQ 72.2.5 Douglas and Reed Downloads 4335