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THE ENGLISH LAW OF TORT

This was demonstrated in the case of Best v Samuel Fox amp. Co Ltd 1 in which a wife attempted to sue her husband’s employers for his inability to have intercourse with her, due to an accident at work that had left him emasculated. The claim failed on the basis that the claimant had no proprietary right over her husband, and therefore no injuria had been suffered by the claimant.In contrast, however, it is possible for a claim to be brought where no damage has been suffered. This could occur in the case of the tort of trespass and libel. Merely entering onto the land of another without their consent can be actionable, even of the trespasser causes no damage to the land. Likewise, with libel, the publication of the libel can result in an action being brought by the claimant, without requiring the claimant to prove that any loss was suffered as a result of the wrong.In order to prove that the injuria has caused the damnum it is not necessary to prove the intent of the person causing the harm. Even when intent can be proven, the court can determine that the action of the defendant is not illegal, and therefore not actionable. This was determined in The Mayor of Bradford (Bradford Corporation) v Pickles (1895)2 , in which the defendant placed a well on his land, knowing that this would interrupt the water supply of the town and discolour it. Although in this case the motive of the defendant was malicious, the court ruled that his actions were legal as he was entitled to do whatever he liked on his own land3. Conversely, in Wilkinson v Downton (1897)4, the claimant successfully claimed damages, despite the fact that the harm was caused as a result of a joke, and the defendant lacked any intention to cause harm to the claimant.Intention can be of relevance in bringing a claim in cases of malicious prosecution5, falsehood6, or defamation7 as well as in claims for nuisance. One such case where nuisance was established as actionable was

THE ENGLISH LAW OF TORT