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19 Jan

TORT 1.5 OTHER PERSONAL TORTS

OTHER ACTS INTENDED TO CAUSE PHYSICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC HARM. (THAT IS ASIDES FROM ASSAULT, BATTERY AND FALSE IMPRISONMENT DISCUSSED IN EARLIER LECTURE NOTES)

This is just like the residue of trespass to person. Where your claims cannot fall under assault, battery or false imprisonment but the act committed against you amounts to a wrongful interference with your personal safety and it is intended to cause harm.

Two elements should be proved here,

  • That the defendant intentionally did an act or made a statement.
  • Which causes the plaintiff to suffer a physical or mental harm[1].

 

In Wilkinson v. Downton, the defendant jokingly told the plaintiff that her husband was involved in a fatal accident and was seriously injured. This led to a violent nervous shock to the woman and she subsequently fell ill. It was held that since the plaintiff made the statement with the intention that the woman should believe it, and there was no justification for doing such, it constituted a good cause of action.

In Wainwright v. Home Office, the subjection of the plaintiff and her son to a strip search at the prison caused Mrs. Wainwright’s depression to be worse and made her son to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. It was held that there was damage within the definition of Wilkinson v. Downton. Although the claim failed for other reasons.

Another major development here can be seen in the enactment of the UK Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which was enacted to protect from harassment[2]. To harass means to persistently[3] annoy or bother somebody.

Section 1 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 provides that; A person must not pursue a conduct which amounts to harassment of another or which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment[4]. The reasonable man’s standard is applied.

Section 3 of the act allows a civil action to be brought to remedy acts amounting to harassment.

In Majrowsky v. Guys and St. Thomas’ NHS Trusts, Majrowsky an employee sued the Trust for vicarious liability of the Mrs. Freeman his manager in his workplace claiming that she bullied and maltreated him. He said she harassed him most likely because he is gay. She refused to talk to him and gave him the most difficult tasks. Court found harassment and held that an employer can be vicariously liable for harassment to their employees from bosses.

In Singh v. Bhakar, the claimant, (a spouse of an arranged marriage) alleged that her mother in law maltreated her, treated her like a slave, made her do all the chores till her hands became infected. She alleged that all contacts with her family was restricted and she was forced to wear an amulet from another religion. She left the marriage and sued for harassment. She was successful.

In Khorasandijan V Bush, After the breakup, the defendant’s ex started harassing her through frequent phone calls, aggressive behaviour and scratching her car. Harassment was found and an injunction was granted.

 

[1] This harm must be known to psychology and/or medicine.

[2] Obviously.

  • [3] Harassment must be a persistent (two occasions would suffice) behavior that torments a person-Wong v. Parkside Health NHS Trust 2003 3 all er 932.

[4] Although certain derogations are allowed. E.g. Section 1(3) provides an exception where the act was done to prevent the commission of a crime.

Isochukwu

Quite eccentric really

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