History of trespass


Trespassin lawthe unauthorized entry upon land. Initially, trespass was wrongful conduct directly causing injury or loss and thus was the origin of the law of torts in common-law countries. Trespass now, however, is generally confined to issues involving real property.

Neither malice nor knowledgeability is essential to trespass. Thus, mistaken belief as to ownership of land is no defense to a trespass charge. Moreover, possession—not ownership—is the issue in trespass to land. A trespass suit can be brought by anyone in possession of land—even wrongful possession. Formerly, every unauthorized entry was trespass, even if no loss resulted. The courts have softened this policy, but vestiges of it remain.

Once a trespass is proved, the trespasser is usually held liable for any damages resulting—regardless of whether he was negligent or whether the damage was foreseeable. Trespass to land is also unauthorized subsurface entry e.

If there is a continuing presence e. Trespass can also be against personal property, but in such cases the object must be carried away and actual damage must be shown—in contrast to technical trespasses against land. Trespass in criminal law is a trespass accomplished through the intentional demonstration of force calculated to intimidate or alarm the owner or accomplished in such a way as to tend toward a breach of the peace.

No trespass is criminal unless it tends to a breach of the peace, even though the act be committed forcefully and maliciously. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree See Article History.

Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Technically, trespass is a personal action, and the successful plaintiff recovers only money damages. Since such actions frequently rest on the right to possession, however, they were used in the past, and in some jurisdictions are used today, to try title.

This succeeds without any proof of special damage and is defeated only by rather narrowly defined pleas such as that of imminent necessity to protect the intruder or his property or inevitable accident.

Larceny requires a trespassory taking; that is, the goods must be taken from the possession of another without consent.

Trespass to land

The expansion of the larceny offense at common law occurred principally by extending the notion of property in the possession of another. Thus, possession of property entrusted by a….

History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Dayevery day in your inbox! Email address.Trespassers can be a minor nuisance to some property owners, however, it can cause serious problems for others.

Trespass is the unlawful occupation of, or interference with land or property belonging to someone else. Trespass to land is a civil wrong under the law of tort. Trespass is not, for the most part, a criminal offence. The civil law provides remedies to those who are harmed by the conduct of other people. Trespass to land is one of the oldest actions known to the common law and consists of any unjustifiable intrusion by a person upon the land in possession of another.

To prove trespass there must be an intention to interfere with the right of possession, and this includes removing a part of land or property belonging to someone else. Trespass to land does not require proof of damage for it to be actionable in the courts.


If damage is caused by a trespasser, a charge of criminal damage can ensue. Other forms of trespass include:. There are other forms of trespass. Similarly, invasion of the airspace above land may constitute a trespass limited to the height at which the invasion would interfere with the full use of the land.

For example, overhanging eaves or other structures on a building that overhang an adjoining property may amount to a trespass. If the alleged trespasser can prove they were authorised to be on the land in question, they can defend a claim against them for trespass.

Permission to enter the land can be granted in a number of ways, including:. However, where there is an authorised right to be on the land, that right must not be exceeded or abused, otherwise a trespass may have been committed. For instance, if an individual has the right to use a specific field for exercising horses, they must not go outside of that area.

If a licence permits someone to be on the premises until 10pm but they remain on site after 10pm, they will be trespassing. If a theatre goer is asked to leave the theatre because of their behaviour, they will be trespassing if they refuse to leave.

Where a licence or other form of permission is revoked, authorisation to be on the land or property is withdrawn. If the licensee still goes onto the property thereafter, they may be trespassing. Necessity is a defence to trespass to land. For example, the police and other law enforcement authorities have power to go onto land in the lawful execution of their duties. The court will not, however, make the order where the adjoining occupier would suffer interference with, or disturbance with the full use or enjoyment of his land, or would suffer hardship to such a degree that it would not be reasonable to grant the order.

The court may require the applicant to pay compensation for any loss or damage or any loss of privacy or other substantial inconvenience.

A Video Introduction To Trespass: A History Of Uncommissioned Urban Art

Possession refers to occupation or physical control of the land this may or not be the legal owner of the property — eg. The plaintiff may seek damages, or an injunction, or both. If the trespass is continuing, an application for an injunction can be made — but it will have to be proved that the trespasser is in unlawful possession or use of the land.

Where the trespass is trivial, damages may be nominal and an injunction refused. Where the trespass has caused physical damage to the land, damages are measured by the decrease in value of the land, not the cost of restoration.Don't have an account? This chapter begins with a discussion of how the action of trespass as an ordinary feature of the jurisdiction of the royal courts gives some shape to the emergent law of tort. It then shows how, by the beginning of the 14th century, the action of trespass became established around a core of minimally forcible wrongdoing.

This is followed by a discussion of the origins of the trespass on the case.

history of trespass

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Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Trespass by Carlo McCormick. Marc Schiller. Sara Schiller. Ethel Seno Editor. Graffiti and unsanctioned art—from local origins to global phenomenon In recent years street art has grown bolder, more ornate, more sophisticated and—in many cases—more acceptable. Yet unsanctioned public art remains the problem child of cultural expression, the last outlaw of visual disciplines.

It has also become a global phenomenon of the 21st century. Made in collabor Graffiti and unsanctioned art—from local origins to global phenomenon In recent years street art has grown bolder, more ornate, more sophisticated and—in many cases—more acceptable.

Made in collaboration with featured artists, Trespass examines the rise and global reach of graffiti and urban arttracing key figures, events and movements of self-expression in the city's social space, and the history of urban reclamation, protest, and illicit performance.

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Trespass. A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art

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Gospel for Asia Celebrates as Bride of Christ The Ilston Church and the Baptist Defection. When modern people read about Christian history, most find it very hard CopyrightPatheos. All rights reserved.The idea that a man who trespassed in Buckingham Palace and woke the Queen in her bed did not commit a criminal offense has left many people puzzled or skeptical. But British legal scholars say there is a clear basis in history and in the modern statutes for the decision against prosecuting Michael Fagan.

Trespass as such - just entering someone else's property - was not historically a criminal offense, in this country or the United States. It was a tort, a civil wrong for which the property-owner could sue and get damages. In fact, trespass was in many respects the basis of the whole law of torts. From the concept that an invasion of property gave the owner a legal right to monetary compensation, the judges of England over the centuries developed the complexities of property rights and civil remedies.

The criminal law was developed by judges, case by case, without legislation by Parliament.

history of trespass

Scholars say trespass was not a crime at common law, as the body of judicial precedents was called. The familiar sign ''Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted'' was therefore never really accurate in the old days.

If it meant something beyond a general warning, it meant that the owner would sue trespassers for damages. Trespass Laws Narrowly Defined. In this century statutes have taken over just about the whole of the criminal law, in Britain and the United States, defining offenses more systematically.

Some statutes have made trespass a crime - but under narrow circumstances. The British Criminal Law Act offor example, made it a crime to trespass on foreign embassies. That provision was adopted because political protesters had caused a problem.

In the United States, local and state criminal trespass laws were widely tested at the time of the sit-in movement to desegregate lunch counters and other public accommodations in the 's. Most of those laws were narrowly drawn. Characteristically, they made it a crime to stay on someone's property after a clear notice to leave.

Conviction required proof of willfulness on the part of the defendant - that is, knowledge that the intruder was there against the owner's wish and with a malicious intent to ignore the owner's property rights. Most crimes include, in their definition, an element of intent. Property crimes usually require, for conviction, proof that the defendant intended to steal the property or damage it.

That is in sharp contrast to the civil wrong of trespass, where no proof of actual harm to the property or intent to inflict it is necessary. Under English law a jury may award damages if someone trespasses on your property and does nothing but bend the blades of grass. Intent Was the Problem. It was the problem of intent that the Director of Public Prosecutions said stood in the way of prosecuting Mr. Fagan successfully for his Buckingham Palace exploit.

What he did in getting into the palace sounded to Americans like breaking and entering. He broke, or at least displaced, a metal screen, and he entered. But in the United States it is usually a crime to break and enter only with the intention to do something else illegal, and that is true also in Britain. The relevant English crime is burglary. It punishes one who enters property as a trespasser and intends either to steal something or cause serious bodily harm. The authorities indicated that such intentions would have been hard to prove in Mr.

Fagan's case. There is a further complication in Mr. Fagan's state of mind.If you have any question you can ask below or enter what you are looking for! Trespass was one of the two original forms of action see Chapter 1. The term has survived to the present day in the context of specific torts, one being trespass to the person. The essence of all modern forms of trespass can be found in the old idea that trespass was the appropriate remedy for any direct and forcible injury.

As will be seen, trespass to the person relates to direct and forcible injury to the person. Before turning to the tort itself it is necessary to consider the legal meaning of:.

The traditional explanation of this word is that the injury must follow so closely on the act that it can be seen as part of the act. This is still true but perhaps implies that injuries caused by a car accident are also direct which is not legally the case. Such injuries are regarded as consequential.

For a more detailed discussion of this point see Chapter 4. As Lord Denning explained:. If one man intentionally applies force directly to another, the plaintiff has a cause of action in … trespass to the person….

If he does not inflict injury intentionally, but only unintentionally, the plaintiff has no cause of action today in trespass. His only cause of action is in negligence. This difficult proposition is easier to understand when the facts of the case are considered. While on holiday in Cornwall, Mrs Letang was sunbathing on a piece of grass where cars were parked.

history of trespass

While she was lying there, Mr Cooper drove into the car park. He did not see her. She claimed damages on the basis of both negligence and trespass to the person. It was agreed by both sides that the action in negligence was statute-barred, i. The question was therefore whether or not her claim could succeed in trespass to the person where the time limit of six years had not expired? The definitions of each of the three component parts of trespass to the person incorporate the word intentional as well as direct.

The old meaning must, however, be understood if the rest of the law is to make any sense! These issues are discussed in more depth in Chapter 1.

While the word itself conjures up a picture of force which causes or is capable of causing physical injury, in reality the law uses the term to describe any kind of threatened or actual physical interference with the person of another. Given the explanation of forcible it comes as no surprise to learn that injury is interpreted widely and can include any infringement of personal dignity or bodily integrity. Actual physical harm is not an essential ingredient of trespass to the person although in many cases it may have occurred.

The tort is actionable per se. In other words it is not necessary to prove actual damage. It is only necessary to prove that the actions of the defendant fulfil the requisite criteria.

history of trespass

Trespass to the person has three components which may occur together or separately. Each of itself gives rise to a cause of action. The components are:. Assault and battery will each be defined and explained, the defences applicable to both these torts being considered together.

False imprisonment will then be considered separately. Trespass to the person can be committed in one of three ways see Figure

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