This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

What Constitutes Severe Duress in BC Supreme Court Cases?

Question from beddy, What Constitutes Severe Duress in BC Supreme Court Cases?

Answer from AI:

Duress in legal terms refers to a situation where a person performs an act as a result of violence, threat, or other pressure against the person. In the context of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, cases involving severe duress are assessed based on the specifics of each situation, including the nature of the threat and the options available to the person under duress.

Understanding Duress in Legal Terms

Duress can be a defense in both criminal and civil cases. It is considered a coercion defense, where the defendant argues that they should not be held liable for their actions because they were coerced into committing the act due to the threat of harm or actual harm.

Elements of Duress

To establish a defense of duress, certain elements typically need to be proven:

  • Immediate Threat: There must be an immediate threat of death or serious bodily harm.
  • Inevitability of Harm: The harm threatened must be greater than the harm caused by the act.
  • No Reasonable Escape: The person under duress must have had no reasonable escape from the threat except to perform the act.
  • Direct Causation: The act must have been directly caused by the threat of harm.
  • Proportionality: The response to the threat must be proportional to the harm threatened.

Severe Duress in BC Supreme Court

In the Supreme Court of British Columbia, cases involving severe duress are examined on a case-by-case basis. The court will consider the severity of the threat, the immediacy of the threat, and whether the person under duress had any opportunity to avoid or mitigate the threat.

Examples of Severe Duress

Severe duress might be found in cases such as:

  • Hostage situations where a person is forced to commit a crime to save their life or the life of another.
  • Threats of severe and immediate violence that leave no choice but to comply with the demands of the threatening party.

Legal Advice and Representation

It is important for individuals who believe they have acted under severe duress to seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer. A lawyer can help assess the viability of a duress defense and represent the individual in court proceedings. The Law Society of British Columbia provides a Lawyer Lookup service that can help individuals find a lawyer to assist with their case.


Severe duress is a complex legal concept that requires a detailed analysis of the facts of each case. If you believe you have been involved in a situation where severe duress may apply, it is crucial to consult with a legal professional who can provide personalized advice and guide you through the legal process. Remember that each case is unique, and the outcome can depend on various factors, including the evidence available and the specific circumstances of the threat or coercion.

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