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Trespass To Person

Written by Naga Rupaswini, M.Meghana Reddy & Mythri Alampally



INTRODUCTION


Trespassing on another person is a common occurrence in everyday life. It is essentially a form of unjustifiable interference with a person's body that can be committed either by causing actual harm or by simply inducing fear of force.


Trespass to person has evolved into what it is now as a result of numerous alterations and modifications. Physical interference with a person was granted specific protection in early English law, partially to avoid the unfavourable results of individuals taking the law into their own hands through vengeance attacks. Direct attacks on the person were protected by the action of trespass, which required no proof of damage until the traditional forms of action were abolished in the 19th century. The action on the case, which did need proof of damage, protected indirect interference with the person.


Direct and intentional acts of interference are still dealt with by the tort of trespass, whilst indirect and inadvertent acts are dealt with by the tort of negligence. However, the issue is more complicated than this seems, with some authorities suggesting that even in trespass cases, the claimant must now prove purpose or negligence in addition to the act of interference. This appears to imply that there is a type of negligent trespass, which is a bit of a stretch.


TRESPASS ON PERSON DEFINITION


Trespass to a person is defined as any interference with a person's fundamental civil right to personal security and self-determination in connection to his own body, no matter how little. Trespassing can be done on purpose, inadvertently, or negligently. Every person's body is inviolate, according to the basic concept of obvious and unquestionable law.


Trespass against a person can be classified as follows:


"Any conduct of such a kind as to excite an anticipation of battery" is defined as assault.


"Intentional and unpermitted contact with the plaintiff's person or anything related to it and virtually identified with it," according to battery; and


False incarceration is defined as the "illegal impediment or deprivation of freedom from mobility restraint."


To summarize, trespass to a person is defined as any unjustifiable interference with a person without a legitimate justification. Trespass to the person is based on the premise that everyone's body is sacred.[1]


TRESPASS TO PERSON ESSENTIALS


Intention


Trespass against a person is not considered trespass unless it is done with the purpose to do so. As a result, the primary criterion for trespass to a person is intent. Trespass is actionable per se if there is an intention behind it, and the plaintiff does not need to prove any specific or particular damage.

In a case of negligent trespass to a person, the plaintiff must show that the injuries that led to the complaint were reasonably foreseeable. Proof of real damage is not required in cases of direct or willful trespass, but it is required in cases of negligent torts.


TYPES OF PERSONAL TRESPASS


Trespass against a person might be defined in one of three ways:


1. Assault


2. Battery


3. False Imprisonment


ASSAULT


An actionable tort of assault is the act of putting another person in reasonable dread or apprehension of an immediate battery through an act that amounts to an effort or threat to commit a battery.

Intimidating or menacing; the purpose to do violence must be communicated through frightening behaviours, not just invoice.


Myers v. Stephen


The Claimant in Stephen v Myers[2] (1830) was the chairman of a meeting and sat at the same table as Defendant. Between the Claimant and Defendant, there were around six or seven people. The defendant was being disruptive; therefore, a motion was made for him to leave the room. Defendant claimed he'd rather rip the chairman out of his chair and lunged at the Claimant with his fist clenched but was stopped by the man sitting next to him. It appeared that he intended to strike the Claimant. Defendant claimed there was no assault since he lacked the authority to carry out his threat because there were people in the way. According to the court, not every threat is an attack. There must be a way to put that threat into action: it must be a credible threat of personal violence. The court instructed the jury (as juries were still in use at the time) that there had been an assault if Defendant had been able to reach the chairman and hit him. However, there is no assault if the Defendant did not intend to hit the Claimant or it was not realistic for him to reach the Claimant. The jury decided in favour of the Claimant.


The Case in India


Nandipati Muthayya v. Bavisetti Venkat Surya Rao[3]


The plaintiff, a well-to-do agriculturist, was behind on his land revenue in this case. The village music, who was in charge of collecting the money, went to the plaintiff's house to collect the money. When the plaintiff was served with the demand, he claimed that he was unable to pay because his wife had locked the house and gone out for a few days. The defendant insisted on receiving payment on the same day, which happened to be the last day of the fiscal year for revenue collection. The plaintiff was threatened that if he did not pay, his movable goods would be seized. Because the plaintiff's residence was closed and there were no other movables, the defendant informed him that the wages he was wearing would be forfeited. The goldsmith in the community was summoned. Upon the arrival of the goldsmith, one of the people presents paid off the plaintiff's debt by borrowing money from another person. The defendants then quietly exited the courtroom. The plaintiff claimed that, in addition to other wrongdoings, the defendant had assaulted her. The plaintiff was not put in dread of immediate or instant violence because the defendants said and did nothing following the arrival of the goldsmith, and the threat of use of force by the goldsmith to the plaintiff was too remote a possibility. There was no physical violence.


BATTERY


The battery is defined as the use of force against another person without a legitimate reason.

Any material object that comes into contact with another person is defined as a battery. (intentionally). To spit or throw water on someone is an example.


Taking something from another individual forcibly. To create bodily harm or pain to another person by projecting heat, light, noise, or vapours upon them.


Metropolitan Police Commissioner v. Fagan[4]


An officer asked Fagan to park his car in Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1969], a criminal action. He didn't notice the car had rolled onto the officers' feet until he was requested to move the vehicle. Before complying with the order, he retaliated with verbal abuse and shut off the engine. The majority of the Court of Appeal decided that there was a battery since there was a continuous positive act from the time he moved the automobile until the time he turned it off. Bridge J, on the other hand, disagreed, claiming that it was an omission because he parked on the foot by accident (and thus had no intent at the time) and then just forgot to move the car, leaving no battery.


The Case in India


Daji Pratap V. B.B. and C.I. Ryl.[5]


An officer asked Fagan to park his car in Fagan v Metropolitan Police Commissioner [1969], a criminal action. He didn't notice the car had rolled onto the officers' feet until he was requested to move the vehicle. Before complying with the order, he retaliated with verbal abuse and shut off the engine. The majority of the Court of Appeal decided that there was a battery since there was a continuous positive act from the time he moved the automobile until the time he turned it off. Bridge J, on the other hand, disagreed, claiming that it was an omission because he parked on the foot by accident (and thus had no intent at the time) and then just forgot to move the car, leaving no battery.


FALSE IMPRISONMENT


False incarceration is defined as complete denial of liberty for any period of time, however brief, without a legal reason.


Exception


A minor restriction on one's freedom of movement does not constitute incarceration


False Imprisonment's Essentials


  • The total restriction of a person's liberty.

  • The detention must be illegitimate.

  • False detention does not necessitate the use of physical force.

  • It is not required to be familiar with the plaintiff.

  • It is also possible to be falsely imprisoned while drunk, sleepy, or insane. Lord Atkin has indicated that in all such circumstances, damages will be lowered, and the award of damages may be modified by whether the plaintiff is aware of it.

CONCLUSION


Trespass to a person is a common crime that we encounter daily. People face several challenges as a result of these acts, but owing to their ignorance, they do not file trespass to person lawsuits, even though they suffer harm as a result of these interferences. People in Indian society are so ignorant of their rights that they continue to face hardships without raising a protest. In contrast to these, American society is such a litigious nation that people even file lawsuits for minor trespass instances. Because everyone's body is sacred, no one has the right to tamper with it, either directly or indirectly.

As a result, understanding trespass and its defences is a crucial idea to understand, as it will benefit both individuals and society. Keeping these realities in mind, this effort is an attempt to clarify the many principles linked to trespass and its defences so that individuals can better exercise their rights and responsibilities.


[1] Mullis A., Oliphant K. (1993) Trespass to the Person. In: Torts. Macmillan Professional Masters. Palgrave, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-12659-0_17. [2](1830) 172 ER 735. [3]AIR 1964 AP 382 [4][1969] 1 QB 439. [5]6 (1875) 1 BOM. 52

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