[Torts] Answer Guide for Trespass to Land


Template for trespass to land

1.     A person trespasses to land if the action consists of any direct (Kelsen v Imperial Tobacco) and unauthorized (Halliday v Neville) interference, either intentional or negligent (Public Transport v Perry), with a person’s exclusive right to possession (Dealany v TP Smith) of land.
a.     Direct (Southport v Esso Petroleum)
b.     Unauthorised (Halliday v Nevill)
c.     Intentional or negligent (Perry’s case)  
d.     With one’s exclusive possession of land
(Dealany v TP Smith)

2.     In order to sue in trespass to land, the plaintiff must have the title to sue (Dealany v TP Smith). The possession of the need not be lawful and a plaintiff in actual possession has title to sue except if another can establish a better right to possession (Newington v Windeyer).

3.     The action is direct and intentional (Kelsen v Imperial Tobacco) and even an object may trespass to land (Davis v Bennison; Southport Co v Esso Petroleum).

4.     Trespass or transient intrusion into airspace may still constitute trespass to land (Bernstein v Skyviews) only if it causes reasonable interference with use and enjoyment of one’s land (Bernstein).
a.     If the trespass is for public interest, section 180 of Property Law Act 1974 must be taken into consideration.

5.     In Halliday v Nevill, it was said that the law would imply a license in favor of any member of the public to go upon the path or driveway to the entrance of the dwelling for the purpose of lawful communication with any person in the house. If one’s action exceeds the limit of implied license, that person becomes a trespasser.

6.     If the owner, whether implicitly or explicitly, revokes the license then any entrance to that land will be a trespass (Plenty v Dillon). However, if one is revoked to stay in the land, then he/she has reasonable time to leave and owner can use reasonable force to eject a trespasser (Cowell v Rosehill).

7.     The burden of proof that there was a license or no revocation is placed on the defendant.

8.     There are possible defences that the defendant can raise:
a.     Lawful arrest
b.     Abatement of nuisance by self help: a person can trespass to land to stop a nuisance or any other unreasonable act (Jones v Williams) (ss 267 and 274 of Criminal Code).
c.     Statutory authority (Halliday v Nevill)

9.     Remedies for trespass to land are:
a.     Damages
b.     Injunctions: this may only be given for continuing and repeating offence (Davies v Bennison).
c.     Self-help

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