Perceptions of Playing Culture in Sport: The Problem of Diverse Opinion in the Light of Barnes

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Prior to Barnes, the boundaries of injury-causing conduct in sport, susceptible in law to the concept of consent were confined to actions within the rules of a game. Despite Bradshaw and Billinghurst implicitly eluding to a wider interpretation of consent it was Barnes that first acknowledged that contacts outside of the rules of the game can in certain circumstances, be consented to. Thus, we now have the notion of ‘Playing Culture’ firmly expressed in law. This paper addresses the problematic connection between criminal law concepts of consent and ‘Playing Culture’ in light of different perceptions of violence on the sports-field. It summarises a sample of amateur rugby participants’ responses to varying levels of violence and argues that the diversity of perception poses a problem for the organic development of regulation in sport. The paper concludes with some suggestions on how a process of education and reflection within Sports Governing Bodies might achieve a better regulatory relationship with the courts and with the concerns of wider society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEntertainment and Sports Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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