Rizwaana
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hello

what is the difference between trespass to goods and conversion

"WhenAngela reached the theatre exit door – an antique door worth £7000 – it wouldnot open fully. A crowd had gathered behind her and they were unable to getout. Angela could hear bits of the ceiling still falling. She grabbed a nearbyfire axe and smashed her way through the door enabling everyone to exit safely."Does this scenario come under trespass to goods or conversion, and how would I relate the scenario to trespass to goods or conversion?

thank you
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lawobiter
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(Original post by Rizwaana)
hello

what is the difference between trespass to goods and conversion

"WhenAngela reached the theatre exit door – an antique door worth £7000 – it wouldnot open fully. A crowd had gathered behind her and they were unable to getout. Angela could hear bits of the ceiling still falling. She grabbed a nearbyfire axe and smashed her way through the door enabling everyone to exit safely."Does this scenario come under trespass to goods or conversion, and how would I relate the scenario to trespass to goods or conversion?

thank you
Conversion

Conversion is the tort which consists of wrongfully dealing with a person's goods and/or deliberately depriving the owner of personal moveable property of its use or possession in a way that constitutes a denial of the owner's rights or is inconsistent with the owner's rights. Taking possession of another's goods, disposing of them, destroying them or refusing to return them are all grounds for conversion. The tort of conversion is of strict liability and three requirements must be met:

1) the defendant's conduct was inconsistent with the rights of owner (White v Withers LLP [2009]);

2) the conduct was deliberate (BMW Financial Services (GB) Ltd v Bhagwanani [2007] EWCA Civ 1230]); and

3) the conduct encroached on the lawful owner's rights to use and possession of the goods ( Kuwait Airways Corpn v Iraqi Airways Co [2002])

Trespass to goods

Trespass to goods is classed as the 'wrongful interference with goods' under s.1 Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977. The defendant must be responsible for some physical contact with the claimant's chattel in order to be liable for trespass to goods. Moreover, trespass to goods constitutes the wrongful disturbance of the possession of goods by removal or by causing a direct damage to the goods (Barclays Mercantile Business Finance Ltd v Sibec Developments Ltd [1993

Your facts

For an act/omission to give rise to a claim in conversion, the interference must entirely exclude the owner from the control of his goods. Trespass, however, does not require this (see, for example, Fouldes v Willoughby (1841)) Causing damage to goods without any appropriation is not a conversion and does not apply to your scenario (likewise, there is no intention to exercise control). It may, however, be actionable by a claim in trespass.The degree of interference required is the difference between conversion and trespass to goods. In trespass, there must be the intention to do the act that constitutes the interference. From the facts which you have presented, it would appear that the intention of Angela was to smash the glass; however, you would need to consider whether or not there are any defences to the prima facie trespass. Of particular importance is Angela 'hearing bits of ceiling falling' and acting in response to that. You should argue whether or not it is reasonable and necessary, in consideration of the circumstances, to interfere with the goods (self-defence, injuria non fit volenti and consent don't really apply)

You should consider the defence of justification by necessity. In Monsanto Plc v Tilly and Others [1999] EWCA Civ 3044 it was held that the defence is applicable in circumstances of imminent and serious danger to life. Are Angela's acts correlative with such a defence? i.e. is it reasonably foreseeable that falling tiles may cause a serious danger to life wherein persons are in close proximity? Would the reasonable person determine that the conduct was in instinct, for the prevention of, or in response to the tiles falling and that it was reasonable to act in a way that she did? If no defence applies to Angela may be liable under trespass for the damage to the door, notwithstanding the fact that her act was done as a preventative measure - her act was physical, intentional and caused direct damage to the door. However, do consider the defences (your text-book will list them) and forseeability.
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Rizwaana
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What is Prima Facie trespass?
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lawobiter
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(Original post by Rizwaana)
What is Prima Facie trespass?
Prima Facie means "on the face of it" or "at first sight." It is used to denote that a principle is conclusive based on the evidence attendant thereto.
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