This is an extract of our Intentional Torts document, which we sell as part of our GDL Tort Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students.
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Also known as trespass to the person
Oldest tort. Steele: 'during the medieval period, trespass was the law of (what we now call) "tort"'.
Trespass vs Negligence - Rough guide:
o If an injury is inflicted deliberately (e.g. setting a trap) it will be trespass to the person
If an injury results from carelessness (e.g. accidentally letting someone fall down a manhole) it will be negligence.
Letang v Cooper  - D ran over P while she was sunbathing on a piece of grass where the cars were parked. Plaintiff filed a claim in trespass to the person,
because the claim in negligence was time-barred.
o Iqbal v Prison Officers Association  - officer omitted to unlock prison cell during strike action. Iqbal was normally allowed out for 6hrs a day. Tried to claim this was false imprisonment. Held there can be no false imprisonment by omission.
Claimant had no legal right to be released from his cell each day - no legal duty to ensure that Claimant was released each day.
But damages awarded for lack of freedom (2 hours)
o Some kind of intention/recklessness is therefore required as the intention for these torts.
Causing someone to think that they are about to be the victim of immediate unlawful force.
o NB different from criminal
In criminal law the victim merely has to think they are about to be battered - in tort law they have to reasonably think they are about to be battered.
o Can have assault without battery
Stephens v Myers  The defendant advanced with raised fists. Was prevented from actually hitting the claimant. There was assault but no battery.
o D's conduct must cause C to reasonably apprehend an imminent battery.
o Words and silence can amount to assault.
R v Ireland  Criminal case - silent phone calls amounted to an assault.
This is the unlawful touching of the claimant.
o Does not require violence, but does require intention and some element of hostility
Wilson v Pringle  - As a schoolboy prank, the defendant pulled another 13-year old pupils' bag,
causing the claimant to fall over and suffer hip injuries.
1 Hugh Rowan
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