Trespass to persons can be broadly classified into three:

  1. Assault
  2. Battery
  3. False Imprisonment

Trespass is an ancient set of wrongs that deals with direct and intentional invasion of a person’s interest in his land, goods or persons. It was one of the two original forms of action. The second form of action was “trespass on the case”, also referred to as “action on the case”. Trespass on the case usually dealt with indirect injury suffered by the claimant.

The distinction between the forms of action can still be seen today. For example, torts which are actionable per se like trespass to land and to persons originate from the old form of action “trespass”. On the other hand, torts which required proof of damage like negligence and nuisance are categorised under “trespass on the case”.

It should be noted that the law of trespass shares a lot of similarities with criminal law. This is due to the fact that trespass usually serves as more of a deterrent than providing compensation. For example, a person could be liable in trespass without any proof of damage. Thus, the claimant isn’t compensated for any loss because it isn’t proved.

Rather, trespass makes citizens more careful when dealing with the rights of others. This explains why the law of trespass is a major source for most civil liberties today.

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