Hopper v Reeve – Case Summary

Hopper v Reeve

Court of Common Pleas

Citations: (1817) 7 Taunton 698; (1817) 129 ER 278.

Facts

The defendant drove his carriage into a third-party’s carriage. This second carriage hit the claimant’s carriage, causing it to overturn. This caused the claimant’s wife, who was inside the claimant’s carriage, to be injured. The claimant sued the defendant in battery on behalf of his wife. The defendant argued that he had not committed battery, because he had not made any direct contact with the woman.

Issue(s)
  1. How directly must force be applied to constitute a battery?
Decision

The Court held in favour of the claimant. The defendant’s acts were a battery against the wife.

This Case is Authority For…

The use of force through or via an object is generally sufficiently direct to constitute a battery.

Other

Though the court did not address the point directly, it is implicit in their judgement that the short delay between the defendant’s act and force being applied to the woman did not preclude a finding of directness.

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