? asked in 政治及管治法律及道德 · 1 decade ago

false imprisonment

Hi everybody, I am going to stand for a moot (legal debate) and want some guidance on false imprisonment...


The scenario is basically about a person get drunk in a pub and fell asleep in te toilet. The staff didnt check the toilet that night and left the pub, when he left, he discovered that he had lost the key for the pub so he didnt lock the door but set the security alarm.

The next day the person woke up, finding that he was locked and waited the staff to arrive. He then realised that he could have in fact left the toilet but if he had opened the main door to leave the pub the alarm would have sounded, bringing the security team who have detained him.

He now bring a claim for false imprisonment against the pub.


How could I make a strong argument for the fact that he is not being false imprisoned? Is there any good authority/case that i can use??

Thank you very much!

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I don't see anything wrong with the term false imprisonment. If one is equipped with knowledge about trespass in common law, one would know that this term is widely used and accepted. On the other hand, I seldom see people use the term unlawful detention in the context of tortious trespass.

    Definition of false imprisonment:

    1. intentionally

    2. causes the plaintiff to be restrained or confined within a particular limited area

    3. the restraint is total, with no reasonable means of escape

    4. against the plaintiff's will

    In the current case, there is no doubt that element 2 and 4 will be easily satisfied. However, the element of intention can relieve the pub of liability since the staff did not intentionally locked him in.

    The case Letang v Cooper [1965] 1 QB 232 laid down the distinction between trespass and negligence: the former composes of intentional infliction of harm while the later concerns unintentional infliction of harm. Since false imprisonment is a type of trespass to person, there is no doubt it requires an element of intention.

    You may also argue that the restraint is not total in that the door is not locked and that the person can leave the pub. However, with the alarm in place, this argument may not be accepted, particularly when you consider Chaytor v London. In this case, the defendant was liable for false imprisonment when a security guard wrongly stopped the plaintiff in a shop with the erroneous belief that he committed theft. There was no physical confinement; the plaintiff was just asked to stop. Hence, in the current case, it will be hard to argue that the restraint is not total, but you can raise this point nevertheless.

    2008-11-27 19:51:27 補充:

    For your information, it is possible for a person to be imprisoned without being aware. (Murray v Ministry of Defence [1988] 2 All ER 521

    2008-11-27 19:52:49 補充:


    Please note that trespass is actionable per se. An action can succeed even in the absence of actual damages.

    2008-11-27 19:59:03 補充:

    However, it is clear the Murray case does not assist you.

    2008-11-27 20:01:23 補充:

    I advice you to go to westlaw or lexis and type in the words "false imprisonment" and factually relevant terms such as "security alarm" to find similar cases to assist you.

  • Gary
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Each jurisdiction has its own definition of false imprisonment.

    Based on the Wikipedia explanation (U.S. law) as follow:


    I can make certain following arguments:

    1. It was not owner's intention to detain the person.

    2. He does not aware his detainment until he was awake. (He was self-intoxicated, which is a voluntary act.)

    3. No damage to the person.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think it is more precise to use the term "unlawful detention" in this case.

    For both charge, it is necessary to show that the pub keeper intended to deprive the liberty of the "victim". Obviously he did not intend it, he was just negligent.

    But you should argue that it is possible for one charged unlawful detention even though the person detained is not aware of being detained.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.