Tort 1: Trespasses to the Person

  1. Letang v Cooper
    Lord Denning said that both assault and battery require intentional conduct.

    If Ds actions are only careless (negligent) then C should sue in the tort of negligence.

    Trespass to the person is actionable per se.

    Battery can be defined as 'the intentional direct application of unlawful force to another person.'

    Assault can be defined as 'an intentional act by the defendant that causes another persn to reasonably apprehend the immediate infliction of a battery upon him'
  2. F v West Berkshire Health Authority
    Lord Goff said that there was a 'general exception embracing all physical contact which is generally acceptable in the ordinary conduct of every day life.'

    Such conduct falls outside of the scope of battery and is not therefore unlawful.
  3. Wilson v Pringle
    Croom-Johnson LJ said that "it is not necessary for a plaintiff to show that the injury was deliberate, merely that the contact was deliberate."

    It is therefore not necessary for Ds to intend the consequences of their actions.
  4. R v Ireland
    "A thing said is a thing done", therefore words can be an 'act' for the purpose of assault.
  5. Turberville v Savage
    Words can 'negative' an assault.
  6. Wilkinson v Downton
    Where D intends to cause shock to C and C suffers some tangible damage, an action may be brought under the Wilkinson v Downton rule.

    This may be useful where C does not actually apprehend the the immediate application of a battery.
  7. Wainwright v Home Office
    Limits to Wilkson v Downton rule- recognised medical condition

    Claimants had been strip-searched when visiting a prison, which had caused them distress.

    However, the HofL rejected their claim under the Wilkinson v Downton rule, saying that no action would lie unless the resultant damage to C amounted to a recognised medical condition.
  8. Condon v Blasi
    Battery & consent- sporting events

    A competitor not only consents to the rules within a sport but also conduct which may fall outside of the rules but is nontheless within the spirit of a particular sport.
  9. Chatterson v Gerson
    Battery & consent- medical treatment

    A patient's consent to medical treatment will be 'real' once the patient has been informed in broad terms of the nature of the procedure which is intended.

    Such consent will not be 'real' if there has been a misrepresentation as to the nature of the treatment.
  10. Chester v Afshar
    Battery & consent- medical treatment

    A doctor's failure to disclose the risks associated with the intended treatment does not invalidate the patient's consent in terms of trespass.
  11. Cockcroft v Smith
    Battery & self defence

    To succeed in a defence of self-defence, D must establish that:

    - the force must be used on self-defence rather than retaliation;

    - the force must be reasonable; and

    - the force must be proportionate to that used or threatened by C
  12. Green v Goddard
    Battery & defence of property

    D may take reasonable steps to defend his property, but reasonable steps would probably involve asking him to leave first.
  13. F v West Berkshire Health Authority
    Battery & necessity

    Lord Goff identified two situations where the defence of necessity could justify treating an adult without consent:

    - an emergency situation where the patient is unconscious (he gave the example of a railway accident)

    - a state of affairs (temporary or permanent) rendering the patient incapable of giving consent (he gave the example of a person lacking mental capacity or someone who through a stroke cannot speak)
  14. Co-operative Group v Pritchard
    Battery & contributory negligence (or provocation)

    The CofA held that where C 'provoked' D into committing a battery (eg through words or conduct) contributory negligence may not be used as a defence.
  15. Sim v Stretch
    Defamation: words must be defamatory

    Words will be defamatory if they tend to lower the C in the eyes of right-thinking members of the public. (ie lower reputation)
  16. Youssoupoff v MGM
    Defamation: words must be defamatory

    Words will be defamatory if they cause the C to be shunned or avoided.
  17. Parmiter v Coupland
    Defamation: words must be defamatory

    Words will be defamatory if they expose the C to hatred, ridicule or contempt.
  18. Charleston v News Group Newspapers
    Defamation- context

    The HofL confirmed that the statement in issue must be taken in its proper context in order to decided whether it is defamatory.
  19. J'Anson v Stewart
    Defamation: reference to the claimant

    Where C had not been named, the test was whether the description was so detailed and the resemblance so strong that a reasonable person reading the article who knew the C would assume the article was about C.
  20. London Artists V Littler
    Defamation: fair comment & public interest

    Lord Denning said: 'whenever a matter is such as to affect people at large, so that they might legitimately be interested in, or concerned at, what is going on; or what might happen to them or others; then it is a matter of public interest on which everyone is entitled to make a fair comment.'

    This may include, for example:

    • - affairs of businesses
    • - matters relating to the church
    • - conduct of public figures
    • - administration of the State
  21. Telnikoff v Matusevitch
    Defamation: fair comment & opinions

    The opinion must be fair. The HofL said an opinion would be fair if a person, however prejudiced or obstinate, could honestly hold the views expressed by D.

    This was restated in Spiller v Johnson as 'honest comment'.
  22. Reynolds v Times Newspapers Limited
    Defamation: qualified privilege

    The HofL considered the circumstances in which the media could show they have a requisite 'duty' to publish.

    This will usually be where the subject of the story is serous, the story is well-researched and balanced and the person about whom the story is given an opportunity to comment.
Card Set
Tort 1: Trespasses to the Person
Tort 1