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Trespass To The Person Notes

GDL Law Notes > GDL Tort Law Notes

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A more recent version of these Trespass To The Person notes – written by Cambridge/Bpp/College Of Law students – is available here.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Tort Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Revision: Tort



Right of protection from deliberate physical harm, unlawful contact and from unjustified restriction of liberty (Assault, Battery and False Imprisonment) - All actionable per se

Battery "Direct and intentional application of force by the defendant to the claimant without lawful justification'
? Intentional:


Must prove either: a) Intention (to touch, not to hurt); or, b) Recklessness (foreseeing the likelihood of act causing the application of force)


More than mere negligence


Fowler v Lanning: no liability if unintentional (here the claimant was shot unintentionally so no liability)

? Direct (direct foreseeability)


Reynolds v Clarke: act must cause an 'immediate wrong'


Scott v Shepherd: there was sufficient directness where Scott through a lighted squib into a market place


DPP v K: schoolboy poured sulphuric acid into hand-drier, another student got it on his face - sufficiently direct


Fagan v Commissioner of Met Police: discussion of what constitutes an 'act - defendant parked on a policeman's foot, then refused to move - the mens rea occurred during the actus rea, thus his act couldn't be regarded as a mere omission

? Application of force


Any physical contact - no need for actual damage


Cole v Turner: "the least touching of another"


R v Cotesworth: spitting in a doctor's face was a battery 1

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