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Trespass is the term given to a collection of torts, including assault, battery and false imprisonment. It may simply vindicate rights, as in Ashley v Sussex [2008], or it may compensate for damage. Damage is not required for trespass to be proven; it is actionable per se. However, for susbstantial damages, injury or damage to the claimant must result. Prior to Donoghue v Stevenson [1932], the main way to attain compensation in tort was through a claim in trespass.

A major difference between negligence and trespass claims is that negligence claims must be made within 3 years of the damage occurring, whereas trespass claims must be made in 6 years. In Letang v Cooper [1965], the claimant tried to bring what should have been a negligence claim in trespass (after the 3 year limitation period). The claim failed as its framing in trespass was ineffective. A second difference is that negligence is easier to prove than trespass, although damages in negligence are based on reasonable foreseeability. In trespass, damages are based on the ‘direct consequence’ test, which is much more rewarding for the claimant.


Collins v Wilcock [1984] said that battery is the,

“[A]ctual infliction of unlwful force on another person”

Battery requires an act of force which is direct, and unlawful.

An Act

Battery must be an act, not just an omission. In Innes v Wylie [1844], the claimant bounced off a police officer who was blocking a doorway...

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