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False Imprisonment Notes

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This is an extract of our False Imprisonment document, which we sell as part of our Torts A Notes collection written by the top tier of Monash University students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Torts A Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

False imprisonment Definition The tort of false imprisonment is committed when a total restraint on the freedom of movement of the plaintiff is brought about intentionally or negligently by the positive and voluntary act of the defendant, without legal authority (legal authority will be discussed not as an element but as a defence).

It is actionable per se - no damage need be shown to claim in false imprisonment. Positive act P must show that D's act was a positive act and not mere passivity or omission ( Innes v Wylie).

Innes v Wylie: standing blocking door not a positive act.

Voluntary act D's act must have been voluntary, meaning D's act was conscious and willed. D is not required to have intended to bring about the results of the conduct to satisfy this element. DirectnessP must show that the total restraint he/she suffered was direct, meaning that it followed 'so immediately upon the act of the defendant that it may be termed part of that act' (Hutchins v Maughan).

[Note any issues with directness]

The question in FI is: whether D's act, on its own, was sufficient to bring about the restraint of P?
Was the restraint merely consequential?
Injury that is merely consequential upon D's act will not ground a claim in tort.

Restraint will be consequential if there is an intervening act between D's act and the contact with P, such that the contact cannot be termed part of D's act (Hutchins v Maughan).

It may be relevant if time has elapsed between D's act and the injury to P (this can be inferred from Myer Stores v Soo).

Intervening acts [note if any of the below apply]
Human acts Human acts, including acts of P, may constitute an intervening act.

1) P's own act of coming to the hazard can be an intervening act: Hutchins v Maughan 2) Voluntary action by P can be an intervening act: Myer Stores v Soo HOWEVER an act that is reflexive or in selfdefence will be considered an inevitable consequence of D's unlawful act and will not be seen as intervening to undermine directness (Scott v Shepherd). Natural forces Natural forces can constitute an intervening act (Southport Corporation v Esso).Tide (Southport) Gravity is not considered an intervening act (dropping something on someone still trespass)

Southport: the intervening act of the tide in bringing oil to shore made damage to P's shore only consequential on D's act.

But P may argue that that Southport should not be followed as "inevitable consequences" of D's act (such as gravity or as was held in Scott v Shepherd) should not be considered intervening acts. Will there be directness where D's agent and not D commits the tort?
D may argue that [agent], and not D, committed the battery on P and therefore there is no directness. However, P can argue that [agent] was acting as D's agent. The court would then treat the principal (in this case D) as being in the position of his/her agent [agent] and therefore there will be no problem of directness (Dickinson v Waters).

Can police be agents?
D may argue that a police officer cannot be found to be an agent for him/her. It will usually be found that police acted independently by making their own assessments, rather than taking directions from members of the public (Davidson v Chief Constable of North Wales).

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