Term “justifiable assault” in Scottish courts cases: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested


A. How many times the legal defence of “justifiable assault” has been used in Scottish courts each year, over the past ten years?

B. How many times a plea of “justifiable assault” was accepted in Scottish Courts each year, over the past ten years?

C. How many times a plea of “justifiable assault” was rejected in Scottish Courts each year, over the past ten years?




While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. The reasons why we don't have the information are explained below.

(A) The Scottish Government Criminal Proceedings database does not hold information relating to defences lodged in criminal trials. Our statistics are derived from data held on the Criminal History System (CHS), a central hub used for the electronic recording of information on people accused and/or convicted of perpetrating a criminal act. The CHS is maintained by Police Scotland, who are
also responsible for managing its operation. The information you have requested relating to defences lodged is not recorded in an electronically extractable format and therefore not on the CHS.

(B)(C) People will either make a plea of 'guilty' or 'not guilty' at the start of a criminal case, there is no plea of 'justifiable assault'. Our latest annual statistical bulletin 'Criminal Proceedings in Scotland, 2017-18' publishes tables that contain numbers of people prosecuted and convicted and table 2a provides the main outcome including where a 'plea of not guilty accepted' (PNGA) has been recorded.

Links to the bulletin and information regarding pleading in court are provided below which may be of interest to you. If you do not have access to the internet to view these links then we can provide you with paper print outs on request.


About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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