Trespass – Law of Torts – Notes

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Trespass to Land – Trespass is the voluntary, intentional or negligent, direct physical interference with plaintiff’s exclusive possession of land. It is actionable per se without proof of damage.

 Dumont v Miller [(1873) 4 ALJR 152]- Defendant with his dogs went on plaintiff’s property. Plaintiff sued defendant even though there was no damage. Plaintiff was awarded damages.

 Defence to Trespass to Land –

  • Authority by Grant/Leave or Party
  • Re-Entry by Owner
  • Entry to bring back cattle
  • Entering for abetment of nuisance
  • Execution of legal process

 Trespass to goods – Voluntary, intentional act by the defendant which directly interferes with goods in plaintiff’s possession.

Penfolds Wines v Elliot [(1946) 74 CLR 204]- Plaintiff sought an injunction against the defendant, who offered bulk wine to customers in any bottles they brought. Plaintiff had embossed statement on bottles that they were Plaintiff’s property and to be returned to Plaintiff if empty. No injunction was granted on grounds that there was no evidence of tortious behaviour being continued thus there is no suitable remedy.

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