False Imprisonment – Law of Torts – Notes

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False Imprisonment – The illegal confinement of one individual against his or her will by another individual in such a manner as to violate the confined individual’s right to be free from restraint of movement.

In order to establish false imprisonment plaintiff must show the following

  • Willful/Intentional detention by the defendant
  • Performed without consent of the plaintiff
  • Without the authority of law

Bird v Jones [(1845) 7 QB 742] – Plaintiff was crossing a bridge, and is stopped by the defendant. The defendant asked the plaintiff to use another way as there was a boat race happening.  The court held that since plaintiff had the option to use another way partial obstruction, unaccompanied by force or threat of force, will not constitute false imprisonment.

Note

In certain jurisdictions of United States, a special privilege known as shopkeeper’s privilege exists, under which a shopkeeper is allowed to detain a suspected shoplifter on store property for a reasonable period of time, so long as the shopkeeper has cause to believe that the person detained in fact committed, or attempted to commit, theft of store property.

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