Cole v Turner – Case Summary

Cole v Turner

High Court

Citations: (1704) Holt, KB 108; [1704] 6 Mod Rep 149; (1704) 90 ER 958.


The claimants were husband and wife who claimed they had been battered by the defendant. The issue was whether jostling the claimants to get past them in a narrow street constituted battery.

  1. What kind of touching amounts to a battery?

The law reports for this case do not report the judgement.

This Case is Authority For…

The judge set out one of the earliest definitions of the tort of battery:

‘the least touching of another in anger is a battery. If two or more meet in a narrow passage, and without any violence or design of harm, the one touches the other gently, it is no battery. If any of them use violence against the other, to force his way in a rude inordinate manner, it is a battery; or any struggle about the passage, to that degree as may do hurt, is a battery.’

Touching in anger, no matter how slightly, is therefore a form of battery.