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Battery Notes

Law Notes > Intentional Torts Notes

This is an extract of our Battery document, which we sell as part of our Intentional Torts Notes collection written by the top tier of Griffith University students.

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A battery is a direct act by the defendant causing bodily contact with the plaintiff
without their consent - Marion's Case
Direct interference with a body
o Doesn't matter how severe it is - if contact occurs, it is a battery
o Anger is not a factor
SS? Cole v Turner
Battery and assault are closely related and will often arise on the same
o Can have one without the other
SS? If someone is hit from behind, or hit while sleeping
* Battery without assault * Action without threat
SS? If someone shakes their fists at someone else but does not
hit them, or someone points a gun at someone but does not
shoot them * Assault without battery * Threat without action

To establish a battery, it must be shown that
o A direct act of the defendant made or had the effect of causing
contact with the body of another
o The direct act was intentional or reckless

Answering a battery hypothetical:

1. Definition of battery, with authority
2. Is the act direct, resulting in contact with another?
a. Does the plaintiff need knowledge of the contact?
3. Is the act or conduct intentional?
4. Is the act positive, as opposed to passive?
5. Is the act voluntary?
6. Is there a defence to the contact?
a. Is there consent?
b. Is there a lawful excuse?


* * * There must be bodily contact with the plaintiff
o Hostility is not required in Australia
The interference of the plaintiff must be as a direct, not a consequential
result of the action of the defendant
The plaintiff has to show that the contact was direct and intentional
o The defendant attempts to show a lack of fault
SS? McHale v Watson
o The defendant also has to prove the defences

Direct v Indirect/Consequential Contact
* An injury is direct when it follows so immediately upon the act of the
defendant that it may be termed as part of the act * It is consequential if by reason of some other obvious and intervening
cause it is regarded as not part of the defendant's act, but rather as a
consequence of it
o Consequential acts are not battery

Scott v Shepherd
* Shepherd threw a lighted 'squib' made of gunpowder into the market
stall of Yates * Willis, who was close by and to protect himself, picked it up and threw
it onto the stall of Ryal. * Ryal, to save his goods, picked it up and threw it. * The squib struck Scott in the face and blinded him in one eye
Shepherd a? Willis a? Ryal a? Scott * HELD: Majority found there was a battery for the plaintiff
o Defendant's act was unlawful (breach of eace and breach of
o Willis and Ryal acted under compulsive necessity for their own
safety, not as free agents
o Therefore, their actions did not break the chain of directness * Blackstone J DISSENTING: injury was consequential and should be an
action on the case * This case shows that contact does not need to involve D physically
touching P but the act does

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