FabReads Digest with Law 058 – Trespass to Land (Law of Torts)
Trespass to land is an unlawful entry into the land in possession of the plaintiff.
Trespass to land can be committed by:
- BY UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY INTO THE LAND: it is referred as the commonest form of tort. Any slightest crossing of the boundary of the plaintiff is sufficient to enable him to recover damages. It is actionable per se even when no actual damage is caused.
- REMAINING AFTER RIGHT TO ENTRY HAS ELAPSED: where the defendant omits or refuses to leave after the expiration of his right or use of the land, he becomes a trespasser. See the case of Balogun vs Alakija, B was employed by A as a rent collector. One night after business hours, A called B’s house to demand an account of rent collected. B allowed A to enter but shortly afterwards an argument ensued and B asked A to leave. A assaulted B and did not leave until 15 minutes after he had been requested to leave. A was held liable to B in trespass.
- PLACING AN OBJECT ON THE LAND: where any material or object is placed on the land in the possession of another , the trespass to land is committed. The trespass must be direct or immediate and not indirect or consequential. Onasanya vs Emmanuel, the complaint of the plaintiff was that the defendant when laying foundation of a building encroached upon the land in possession of the plaintiff by about 10 feet. Also, the defendant had allowed excreta to escape unto his premises. The court held that the throwing of water and refuse were direct acts and are thus amounted to trespass but that escape of excreta was indirect invasion and therefore was nuisance and not trespass.