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  The rule of thumb Monday 15 October 2001  
In England - it is often said - it used to be legal for a husband to beat his wife provided he used a stick no thicker than his thumb.

However, despite the numerous references to this supposed law in books on domestic violence and social history, there's no Act of Parliament or official law report which refers to it. So did such a law ever really exist? Claudia Hammond tries to unravel the legal mystery.
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