Battery

At civil law (as opposed to criminal law) when a person touches you without consent, it is called battery. In Rixon v Star City, a case concerning the ejection of a problematic casino patron, Sheller JA confirmed that the slightest touch is battery, stating that every person’s body is inviolate. But he also confirmed that ‘if two or more meet in a narrow passage, and without any violence or design of harm, the one touches the other gently, it will be no battery.’[1] ...

 

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Assault

While assault is the term used for physical contact at criminal law, at civil law assault means a threat of battery. Typically then, the tort of assault is a verbal incident. A threat made with a condition attached ordinarily would not be actionable. But there are exceptions such as where the condition given is unlawful.[2] In Rozsa v Samuels[3] a threat was made on the condition that the victim should back down after making a lesser threat of his own...

 

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[1] Rixon v Star City [2001] NSWCA 265; unreported, NSW Court of Appeal, 28 September 2001.

[2] Police v Greaves [1964] NZLR 295.

[3] Rozsa v Samuels [1969] SASR 205.

Tort Law - Trespass

Trespass to the Person