In criminal law, there exists a defense of consent. Within this defense, there is a general rule that a person cannot consent to his being caused actual bodily harm. No one can ever lawfully consent to his own death-R v Young . This opens the debate on issues related to euthanasia, illustrated in DPP v Pretty and Humbert -a French case, where, in both cases it was held that a person cannot consent to his own death because of the law.
Where consent is the issue, the burden of disproving it lies on the prosecution- R v Donovan . The term of consent' is sometimes awkward to determine on the grounds that the alleged victim expressly or impliedly consents to the physical contact, or force complained of, with respect to the validity of consent in the circumstances. Consequently, the concepts of consent and public policy give rise to many issues which we will discuss in our assignment.
It is clear that when a person can consent to bodily harm, public policy forms the primary modern and controversial issue within the law, and it is therefore awkward to verify whether the general rule quoted above or exceptions to this rule are based on it. Public policy requires the Court to lay down limits on the extent to which citizens are allowed to consent, or are to be bound by apparent consent given. In Attorney General's Reference (No 6 of 1980) , Lord Lane CJ stated it is not in the public interest that people should try to cause, or should cause, each other actual bodily harm for no good reason.
[...] Bibliography Consents to Prosecution: Item 11 of the 6th Programme of Law Reform - Criminal Law Law Commission Consent in the Criminal Law Great Britain. Law Commission et Henry Brooke (1838) 8 C&P 644  2 K.B 498  Q.B 715 Ibid p 509 (1882) 8 QBD 534  1 AC 212  1 WLR 910 (1878) 14 Cox CC 83 1969 (1986) 83 Cr App Rep 375  QB 1257 2006 c.  QB 47 (unreported, CA, 18th June 1999) 24 & 25 Vict.c.100 Boston College Law Review, vol p Ibid Ibid, p.256 Ibid, p Ibid Ibid, p.239 http://www.cirp.org/library/legal/richards/ accessed on 14th March 2009 2003 c. [...]
[...] This is clearly a criticism of the interference of the law in private sexual activities. On the other hand, Cicero stated are in bondage to the law so that we may remain free” which demonstrates that in fact, the interference of the law is a good thing because it ensures we remain this philosophy has existed since the times of ancient Rome. R v Brown took on international dimensions when the defendants appealed to the European Court of Human Rights as Laskey v UK under the article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights including a “right to privacy”, implying a right to sexual life. [...]
[...] The main problem is to know how the courts measure the degree of actual bodily harm inflicted. The question is to know whether this different interpretation relies on consent, or public policy. In R v Emmett (strangulation during sex), the Court of Appeal upheld the defendant's conviction for ABH in application of the law; the Courts decided that there was no consent. To conclude, the general rule namely that it is clear that a person cannot consent to his caused actual bodily harm are based on public policy is definitely arguable on several points discussed above. [...]
[...] No one can ever lawfully consent to his own death-R v Young. This opens the debate on euthanasia issues illustrated in DPP v Pretty and Humbert-a French case, where in both cases it was held that a person cannot consent to his own death because of the law. Where consent is an issue, the burden of disproving it lies on the prosecution- R v Donovan. The term of ‘consent' is sometimes awkward to determine on the grounds that the alleged victim expressly or impliedly consents to the physical contact, or force complained of, and in regards to the validity of consent in the circumstances. [...]
[...] A prominent issue which arises of consent is that of sexual activities. In R v Clarence, there was simply an absence of valid consent when concealing a venereal disease. The difficulty slightly increased in R v Dica, where it was held that one can consent to run the known risk of infection and the risks and consequences of sex but that one cannot consent to run the risk of being infected with HIV disease. The question could be to what extent does the law intervene in private sexual activities in the ways in which criminal law can and should protect public health? [...]
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