Serious Assaults

Serious Assaults

Serious Assault generally refers to grievous bodily harm (GBH). This offence of GBH can be split into two types:

1) S18 GBH
2) S20 GBH

Section 18 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) is the most serious form of assault. It is also referred to as "wounding with intent". The prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to cause serious harm to the victim. The prosecution must prove intention rather than just recklessness. This may be identified by planned or repeated attacks, prior threats, choosing a particular weapon deliberately or mutilating an object to use it as a weapon.

Section 20 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861 Grievous Bodily Harm is the less serious GBH offence. Section 20 is Grievous Bodily Harm (also known as wounding without intent) in which the accused did not intend to cause the level of damage that materialised. Section 20 cases can be heard in both the Magistrates and Crown Courts.

Section 18 GBH carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years compared to the 5 year maximum sentence of section 20 GBH.

How can a Solicitor Assist?

At ULA Solicitors we are dedicated to providing clear advice to you in order to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome. This may be to advise at the police station which reduces the chances of you further incriminating yourself, or whether it be the advice of pleading guilty early in order to allow for a 25% reduction in sentence, or getting you an experienced barrister to ensure that you have the best chance if your matter was to proceed to trial. We will always listen to our client's instructions and act in accordance with these and their best interest.


As with other criminal law matters the government provides funding by way of legal aid. This is the same in the instance where the individual is charged in relation to a serious assault offence. Again, the individual would have to qualify for legal aid on two grounds. Firstly, their disposable income must be below a certain amount and secondly it must be in the interests of justice that they be represented. With such offences, as they carry lengthy custodial sentences the individual would most definitely satisfy the latter criterion.

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