Tort Law

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The dispute that occurred among the individuals had caused potential trespass to person claims. Trespass to person tort is involved in intentional, direct interference to claimants and is branched into three elements: assault, battery and false imprisonment. Phil could claim assault against Grant due to him coming at him in an aggressive manner and for throwing a bottle at him. However Phil could also possibly be prosecuted for Battery, from Grant’s girlfriend, because of the unlawful kiss he enforced on her. On the other hand Grant may be prosecuted by, not only Phil but, Dot for Battery by hitting her with a bottle.

Assault is defined as an act that causes another person to apprehend the infliction of immediate and unlawful force on a person. For a case to constitute assault it must be an actionable per se that’s intentional. In R v Belfon 19761 case the judgement concluded that the defendant was not guilty due to the defendant not been proven to have the specific intent required for to be charged with assault. Another criterion of assault is the defendant having to put the claimant in immediate unlawful fear. Stephen v Myers 18302 was a case that in which the defendant was found guilty for coming at the claimant with a clutched fist, while the defendant’s friends held the defendant back. The defendant was found guilty because he put the claimant in immediate fear. Unlike the case of Thomas v NUM 19853 where the judge held that the claimant was accompanied by the police, during the time of the assault, thus not under immediate fear therefore defendant wasn’t guilty.

Battery is defined as the act of infliction of direct, unlawful force on a person without their consent. This unlawful force must be intentional as seen in Letang v Cooper 19654 where it was determined that unintentional application of force is 1. R v Belfon [1976] 1 WLR 741, CA

2. Stephens v Myers (1830) 172 ER 735
3. Thomas v NUM [1985] 2 All ER 1
4. Letang v Cooper [1964] 2 All ER 292

negligence, not battery. However the intention needs to be to do the action to cause the unlawful contact to the claimant. For example in Livingstone v MOD 19845 the solider missed his target and ended up shooting the claimant instead consequently the judgement proceeded that the intention of the actual shooting of the gun was enough to constitute battery. In addition defendants can still be charged with battery under the influence of alcohol as seen in R v Brown and Stratton 19986 the judge held that the intention to do the action can’t be justified by being drunk. Furthermore, the contact that amounts to battery doesn’t need to be hostile or cause much harm, as seen in the case of Collins v Wilcock 19847 where the police officer was charged with battery for simply holding the claimant arm to talk to her. In Wilson v Pringle 19868 case the judge ruled that for battery intention touching or hostility instead needed only the intention to inflict injury was required. Lord Holt in Cole v Turner 17049 stated the least touching of another in anger is a battery but this would be too narrow for an unwanted kiss is as much actionable as a blow10. Moreover, non-consented medical treatment can also constitute assault as seen in Re F 199011 and R v Brown 199312, unless the patient is in critical condition and is unconscious therefore can’t consent. The action of the doctor performing the un-consented treatment will thus be seen as a necessity and can justify the battery. As a result, Phil action toward Grant’s girlfriend can constitute as Battery due to Lord Holts quote in Cole v Turner 1704. However Phil can charge Grant for assault since 5. Livingstone -v- Ministry of Defence [1984] NILR 356

6. Brown and Stratton [1998] Crim LR 485, CA
7. Collins v Wilcock [1984] 1 WLR 1172
8. Wilson v Pringle 1986 2 all ER 440
9. Cole v Turner (1704) 87 ER 907
10. Torts eighteenth edition, Winifield & Jolowicz, W.V.H. Rogers, chap.2 pg107...
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