The Seven Categories Of Intentional Tort

Clever Content

  • What Is A Tort?
  • What Is An Intentional Tort?
  • What Is Negligence?
  • What Are The Seven Categories Of Intentional Tort?

What Is A Tort?

A ‘Tort’ is a private or civil wrong, which has been carried out against a person or their property.

Tort law allows a person who has suffered due to the actions of another (the plaintiff) to claim damages against the person who has committed the wrong.  For more information see:

What Is An Intentional Tort?

Intentional means that something is ‘done on purpose’. The actions were ‘deliberate’ or ‘knowing’.

An ‘Intentional Tort’ is a wrongful act that was done on purpose such as domestic violence cases.

The wrong doer does not need to mean to cause harm but if the other person ends up hurt (E.g. A joke or prank that goes wrong) then a claim for damages may be made.

What Is Negligence?

Negligence is the ‘failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another’. It is important under Tort Law as it is the most common of all tort cases.

What Are The Seven Categories Of Intentional Tort?

Personal torts include:

  • Assault - Causing the plaintiff to feel that they are under immediate threat of physical harm.
  • Battery - Unconsented touching that is offensive or harmful.
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress - Deliberately causing others to suffer through action or threat of action.
  • False imprisonment - restricting a persons freedom of movement or fear danger even for a short time.

 Property related torts include:

  • Trespass to chattels - Personal property that can be transported (property other than real estate).
  • Trespass to property - Physically entering another persons real estate without permission.
  • Conversion - Someone intentionally interferes with personal property belonging to another person.


This is a violent attack on a person, which may be physical or verbal. It is an act that makes the recipient feel under immediate threat for their safety. There does not have to be actual physical contact but there must be clear evidence of immediate danger to the plaintiff.

Requirements For Assault

There are 3 main requirements for a successful claim of assault:

  • Intent - There was deliberate interference with the rights of another person that caused harm or the immediate fear of harm.
  • Apprehension of a harmful contact - The act gave rise to a reasonable apprehension of imminent injury or offensive contact.
  • Causation - The act resulted injury to the plaintiff.


This is an act of unconsented touching that is harmful or offensive.

Note: The main difference between assault and battery is that with battery there must be physical contact.

The contact must offend a person of 'ordinary sensibilities'. The physical contact may be through anything connected to the plaintiff’s body E.g. their handbag or clothing. Consent may be used as a defense in cases such as contact sports or very crowded spaces.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

To successfully prove this, the plaintiff must show that the defendants action was significant enough to produce emotional stress in a person of normal sensitivity. Often the plaintiff must prove some physical symptoms.

False Imprisonment

This is the intentional confinement of a person for a period of time. There needs to be a restriction of a person's freedom of movement where an attempt of escape may at the risk of harm. The amount of time can be only a few minutes.

Note: 'Shopkeepers rights' allow storeowners who have reasonable suspicion of theft to temporarily detain the alleged shoplifter until the police arrive.

Trespass to Land

Trespass is to enter someone else's property (land) without permission. Usually trespass must be made by a physical thing. Pollution, noise, smells etc may be considered “nuisance” and not trespass. No actual harm to the property is needed for a claim but most courts require clear notice prohibiting entry to the property.

Trespass to Chattels or personal property.

This form of trespass must harm the property or deprive the possessor of its use. Such as taking someone’s car or bag without their consent.


This is exercising control over the personal property of another person without consent.

E.g. Cutting down a tree on your property without consent.

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Posted in Business Law, Business Law - Introduction.