Wrongs to the person

Assault and Battery

Collins v Wilcock- 'fundamental principle, plain and incontestable, is that every persons body is inviolate. The effect is that every body is protected not only against physical injury but against any form of physical molestation.' 

Ashley v Chief Constable of Sussex - ' battery or trespass to the person is actionable without proof that the victim suffered anything other than the infringement of his right to bodily integrity: the law vindicates that right by awarding nominal damages.'

Elements of battery- 

  • Application of direct and immediate force
  • Intention on the behalf of the defendant
  • Relevance of hostility
  • Coincidence of intention

Application of direct and immediate force- Scott v Shapard 1773 and Breslin v McKenna 2009

Intention on the part of the defendant- Letang v Cooper 1965- 'if he does not inflict injury intentionally, but only unintentionally, the plaintiff has no cause of action in trespass.'

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Assault and battery

a) transferred intent? Livingstone v Ministry of Defence and Bici v Ministry of Defence.

b) recklessness? Bici- accept that recklessness will in principle suffice, but that it must be subjective recklessness that they appreciated the potential harm to the claimants and were indifferent to it. 

c) relevance of hosility- Collins v Wilcock and Wilson v Pringle- 'another ingredient in the tort of trespass is that of hostility.' F v West Berks AHA- 'it has been said that the touching must be hostile, I respectfully doubt whether that is correct.'

d) coincidence of intention- Fagan.

The application of force must be unlawful.

Elements of assault- 

  • claimants reasonable apprehension of the application of direct and immediate unlawful force
  • Intention that claimant apprehends the application of unlawful force. Stephens v Myers- 'there must be means of carrying the threat into force.
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Tuberville v Savage- conditional threats arent assault if the condition is not met at the time.

Thomas v NUM- must be able to carry it at the time of the apprehension.

Words alone or silence?  R v Ireland- ' I would therefore reject the proposition that an assault can never be committed by words.'

False imprisonment- 

R (on application of AA) v Sec of State for Home Dep 2013- 'the burden is on the person detaining another to justify the grounds of detention, and the liability for false imprisonment is strict. Reasonable belief in the power to detain is not normally a defence at common law.'

1) imprisonment must be a complete restriction of freedom of movement. Bird v Jones- 'not a partial obstruction of his will, whatever inconvenience it may bring on him'. 

a) relevance of claimants knowledge? Murray v MoD- dont need to know but will only recieve nominal damages. 'Wrongful interference with liberty should remain actionable even without proof of special damage.'

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False imprisonment

D must intend the restriction of C's freedom of movement- Prison Officers Association v Iqbal - 'if the defendant realises the likely consequence of his act or omission will be that the claimaint is imprisoned and carries on with that act regardless of that likely consequence, that will amount to false imprisonment.'

3) false- the restriction must be unlawful. Austin v Comissioner of the Police of the Metropolis 2009 and Prison Officers Association v Iqbal. 

Rejection of the causation test- R (Lumba) v Sec of State for Home Dept 'all that a claimant has to prove in order to establish false imprisonment is that he was directly and intentionally imprisoned by the defendant, where upon burden shifts to the defendant to show that there was lawful justification for doing so.'

Conditions and terms- Robinson v Balmain New Ferry Co and Herd v Weardale. 

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a) self defence- 'if a person is actually under a potential lethal attck or such an attack is imminent, the law recognises that he is entitled or permitted to defend himself, and if need be, to kill his assailant. The killing is justified.' - Ashley v Chief Constable. 

i) where the defendants belief is mistaken- 'it is one thing to say that if A's mistaken belief was honestly held he should not be punished by the criminal law. It would be quite another to say that A's unreasonably held mistaken belief would be sufficient to justify the law in setting aside B's right not to be subjected to physical violence by A.' - Ashley 

ii) the self defence must be proportionate- 'violence may be returned with necessary violence. But the force used must not exceed the limits of what is reasonable in the circumstances... the assailant may be met with reasonable force but no more, the use of excessive violence against him is an actionable wrong.' -Revill v Newberry. 

b) consent/ volenti non fit injuria- Chatterson v Gerson- 'what the court has to do in each case is to look at all the circumstances and say was there real consent?'

i) necessity and capacity- In Re F (mental patient sterilistation)- 'it seems to me to be unquestionable that treatment which is necessary to preserve the life, health or well being of the patient may be lawfully given without consent.'

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c) lawful arrest/prevention of crime- Armstrong v CC of West Yorkshire Police. Criminal Law Act 1967 s3. Roberts v Chief Constable of Kent 2008. Police Criminal Evidence Act 1984. 

d) reasonable punishment- 

i) Children and Young Persons Act 1933 S1 (7)-  nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting the right of any parent having lawful control or charge of a child or young person to administer punishment to him. 

ii) Children Act 2004 s 58- battery of a child causing actual bodily harm to the child cannot be justified in any civil proceedings on the ground that it constituted reasonable punishment. 

e) illegality / ex turpi causa non oritur actio- Lane v Holloway- 'even if the fight started by being unlawful, I think that one of them can sue the other for damages for subsequent injury if it was inflicted by a weapon or savage blow out of all proportion to the occasion' Denning.

Murphy v Culhane 1977- 'it may well be that he could not sure for damages if he got more than he bargained for... may well said to have been guilty of such a wicked act as to deprive himself of a cause of action, or alternatively, to have had taken upon himself the risk.'

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