Malicious Shooting or Stabbing Act 1803

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Long title An Act for the further Prevention of malicious shooting, and attempting to discharge loaded Fire-Arms, stabbing, cutting, wounding, poisoning, and the malicious using of Means to procure the Miscarriage of Women; and also the malicious setting Fire to Buildings; and also for repealing a certain Act, made in England in the twenty-first Year of the late King James the First, intituled, An Act to prevent the destroying and murthering of Bastard Children; and also an Act made in Ireland in the sixth Year of the Reign of the late Queen Anne, also intituled, An Act to prevent the destroying and murthering of Bastard Children; and for making other Provisions in lieu thereof.
Citation 43 Geo 3 c 58
Royal assent 24 June 1803
Repealed 1 July 1828 (England)
Other legislation
Repealed by The Offences against the Person Act 1828, section 1
Status: Repealed

43 Geo 3 c 58, commonly called Lord Ellenborough's Act[1] and sometimes referred to as the Malicious Shooting Act 1803[2] or the Malicious Shooting or Stabbing Act 1803,[3] is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

The Bill was proposed by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Edward Law, 1st Baron Ellenborough. Lord Ellenborough wished to clarify the law relating to abortion which at the time was not clearly defined in the common law. The bill was introduced in the House of Lords in March 1803 as the Malicious Shootings Bill and also included provisions for clarifying certain other offences. After various amendments it was passed to the House of Commons on 18 May.

The Act provided that it was an offence for any person to perform or cause an abortion. The punishment for performing or attempting to perform a post quickening abortion was the death penalty (section 1) and otherwise was transportation for fourteen years (section 2).

Similar provision was made for Scotland by the 6 Geo 4 c 126 (An Act to make provision in Scotland for the further prevention of malicious shooting and attempting to discharge loaded firearms, stabbing, cutting, wounding, poisoning, maiming, disfiguring, and disabling His Majesty's subjects).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Greaves, C S (editor). A Treatise on Crimes and Misdemeanors. Eighth American Edition. T & JW Johnson. Philadelphia.1857. Volume 1. Page 720.
  2. ^ Glanville Williams. Textbook of Criminal Law. First Edition. Stevens & Sons. London. 1978. Page xxxv. Google Books.
  3. ^ Smith and Hogan. Criminal Law. Eighth Edition. Butterworths. 1996. Page xxii. Google Books.

External links[edit]

Text of Lord Ellenborough's Act in Wikisource.