Duhaime's Law Dictionary

In Defense of Life Definition:

A justification for self-defense.

Related Terms: Self-Defence

Also known as the IDOL Rule and spelled defence of life in Commonwealth jurisdictions.

Not infrequently, a law enforcement rule of procedure. Note, for example, this remark by Justice of the United States Court of Appeals in Fraire v. City of Arlington noting the rules in the city of Arlington, Texas:

"Arlington police officers are prohibited from discharging their firearms in any misdemeanor case, except in defense of life."

In Ex Parte Minister of Safety and Security, Justice Kriegler of the Constitutional Court of South Africa wrote:

"Self-defence is treated in our law as a species of private defence. It is not necessary for the purposes of this judgement to examine the limits of private defence. Until now, our law has allowed killing in defence of life, but also has allowed killing in defence of property, or other legitimate interest, in circumstances where it is reasonable and necessary to do so.... What is material is that the law applies a proportionality test, weighing the interest protected against the interest of the wrongdoer."

Also a justification for the killing of wildlife.


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