R v Manning & Rogers – Case Summary

R v Manning and Rogers

Crown Court

Citations: (1865-72) LR 1 CCR 338.


The defendants were charged and convicted of setting fire to a building. The structure in question was an unfinished house. The walls and roof were finished, most of the flooring laid, but the internal walls needed to be plastered. The defendant argued that this was not a building, since it was incomplete.

  1. Was this structure a ‘building’?

The Court upheld the conviction. The structure was a building.

This Case is Authority For…

A structure does not need to be entirely complete to fall within the meaning of a ‘building’.


Kelly CB commented (obiter) that it was possible for a structure to be so incomplete that it could not properly be called a building. However, he did not think it was wise to set strict guidelines as to when this would be the case. Lush J commented that ‘four walls a foot high’ would probably not be a building.

While this case predates many criminal statutes, it remains persuasive authority for the meaning of a ‘building’. This is relevant, for example, to the offence of burglary.