Lawtons Solicitors has a great deal of experience in defending cases of Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) and Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH).

Seeking expert advice at the earliest stage is vital. By doing this you will be in the best position to allocate appropriate representation.

Offences differ in severity in the eyes of the law, therefore sentences and their impact on your future can vary considerably.

It is important to seek out expert advice, which Lawtons Solicitors can offer, as early as possible to understand the implications of your individual case and ensure you can gain the very best representation.


ABH/GBH & The Law

Assault is a very complex area of law with varying levels of seriousness. The Criminal Justice Act 1988 states that Common Assault, ABH and GB are criminal offences determined by the level of foresight, motivation and injury inflicted, and each have different potential consequences and punishments for someone accused or convicted of the crime.

The law distinguishes between GBH and ABH according to the level of injury sustained. Both types of assault can be committed intentionally or recklessly, and this will be a significant factor in any sentence that may be imposed if someone has been convicted.

The level of injury sustained and the seriousness of the assault tends to determine whether someone may be prosecuted or convicted of ABH or GBH.

Whilst many will try to claim self-defence, this is a highly specialist aspect of any case and requires a careful consideration of the circumstances and what has happened. One of the most significant factors in determining whether someone may have acted in self-defence is the extent of the force used and the reasons for it, if deemed reasonable in the circumstances. For example, it is worth noting that provocation is not deemed sufficient defence to any allegation of ABH and GBH.

Lawtons Solicitors can help you to understand the differences between a variety of defence options and can carefully consider an individual case to advise on the best way to defend it.

Depending on its severity, a GBH or ABH case can be heard in the Magistrates’ or in the Crown Court where a full range of sentences can be given. In the most extreme examples of GBH, it is possible that a life sentence could be imposed. There are guidelines that the Court will consider before passing sentence.

ABH will be prosecuted when the prosecution allege that an actual injury was caused but that it was not grievous or really serious.


What to do if you are accused of ABH or GBH?

As the most serious form of assault, the consequences for individuals accused of GBH reflect this. The biggest factor in determining the sentence will be whether an offence is contrary to Section 18 (intentional) or Section 20 (reckless). However, other factors, like the level of harm caused, will also be considered in determining an appropriate sentence length.

The consequences for ABH are less severe than those given for GBH, ranging from community orders to up to 3 years’ imprisonment in the most severe cases (heard by the Crown Court). Prison sentences are more likely to be given the assault is not a first-time offence.

Knowledge and experience of how courts apply characteristics to cases of assault and the application of certain mitigating factors, characterise the expertise needed to successfully underpin a legal defence case. Appointing an expert within this aspect of law will ensure you are best served to reduce any potential penalties that could occur in the worst-case scenario.

If you are under police investigation for either GBH or ABH, it is important to consult with a specialist solicitor as soon as possible so that all the facts of the case can be investigated at the same time, and the best guidance provided. Even if you’ve had the Duty Solicitor at the Police Station, you can instruct Lawtons team of criminal defence solicitors in London, experts in this complex area of criminal law. We are available to represent accused individuals 24-hours a day to protect your rights and help you achieve a positive outcome


Contact Us

For more information on GBH and ABH laws or sentencing, or to discuss an individual case, please call us on 0333 202 0972 or email


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