Assault charges: Defence of Consent
In sports, players consent to some forms of intentional body contact and to the risk of resulting injury. The bodily contact to which they consent is that which falls within the rules and customary norms of the game.
But some forms of bodily contact involve such a great risk of injury and distinct probability of serious harm as to go beyond what the players impliedly consent to or beyond what they are capable, in law, of consenting to. Conduct in a game that is meant to inflict injury will generally fall outside the immunity provided by implied consent.
The defence of consent does not extend to serious injury resulting from a fist fight or brawl between adults. However, the defence continues to apply to children who in the course of a fight unintentionally cause serious hurt.
Consent is available as a defence even in a domestic context.
A 1995 British Columbia court decision held that for public policy reasons consent should allow for a lower level of violence in domestic altercations than in brawls and fist fights. However, that is not the law in Ontario (see 2012 ruling in R. v. Tschudi).