Green v Goddard – Case Summary

Green v Goddard

High Court

Citations: (1703) 2 Salkeld 641; (1703) 91 ER 540.


A bull broke into the defendant’s land. As the defendant was chasing the bull out, the claimant entered the land. The defendant attacked him in an attempt to get him to leave. He did not ask or tell the claimant to leave first. The claimant sued the defendant in battery. The defendant argued that he was acting in defence of his property.

  1. Is the defendant required to give a verbal warning before using force in defence of property?

The Court held for the claimant. The claimant had yet to use any force, so the defendant was not entitled to lay hands on him without first giving a verbal warning.

This Case is Authority For…

Where the defendant is acting in defence of property and the other person has yet to use any force, they must first verbally warn the person to stop or leave. They cannot escalate straight to using force.