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Entick v Carrington (1765), 19 St Tr 1029; (1795) 95 ER 807

Facts:

Defendants claimed authority under a warrant from the Secretary of State; broke into the plaintiff’s house and took some papers. P sued in trespass.

Issue(s):

Does any invasion of property constitute trespass?

Ratio:

Any invasion of property is actionable in trespass unless there is a law excusing the invasion. No need to show damages.

Analysis:

Every invasion of property is trespass. If a person admits to the invasion, he must justify it with a law that excuses him. If no law can be found, P’s action is successful.


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