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Gilbert v Stone (1648), 82 ER 539 (KB)


Case about bullies. Defendant was threatened with injury if he didn’t go onto land and steal plaintiff’s horse. D charged with trespass; but D claims duress.


Is duress a defence to trespass?


Duress is an irrelevant motive in intentional torts. It is therefore not a defence to trespass, particularly if allowing the defence would deny relief to the plaintiff.


Court rules that duress wasn’t a defence. Policy reasons: need to allow the plaintiff to get relief. Duress will not be a defence to trespass if allowing such a defence would deny adequate relief to the plaintiff. Motive can factor into defences and may be relevant in assessing damages. However, duress is not a relevant motive.

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