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Herd v Weardale Steel, Coal and Coke Co Ltd, [1915] AC 67, 84 LJKB 121 (HL)

Facts:

Herd was a miner. He contracted to go down into the mine and work a shift. Once down there, he decided to come back up. Herd was prevented from using the cage, which was the only way out of the mine. The respondents said they did not raise Herd up because he did not fulfill his contractual obligations to complete his shift.

Issue(s):

Did the actions of the respondents constitute false imprisonment?

Ratio:

A person who binds himself (by contract) to be held, cannot bring an action of false imprisonment against the holder. (It is not false imprisonment to hold a person to the situational conditions they accept when they enter into a contract).

Analysis:

Haldane: NO.
** It is not false imprisonment to hold a person to the conditions he has accepted when he does down a mine
** Analogy: train, where the doors close and you can’t get out until the station
** Herd went down to complete his shift; if he wants to come up before his shift ends, then to deny him does not constitute false imprisonment.

Holding:

Decision in favour of respondent.


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