false imprisonment

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Unlawful restriction of a person's freedom of movement, not necessarily in a prison. Any complete deprivation of freedom of movement is sufficient, so false imprisonment includes unlawful arrest and unlawfully preventing a person leaving a room or a shop. The restriction must be total: it is not imprisonment to prevent a person proceeding in one direction if he is free to leave in others (Bird v Jones (1845) 7QB 742). False imprisonment is a form of trespass to the person, so it is not necessary to prove that it has caused actual damage. It is both a crime and a tort of strict liability. Damages, which may be aggravated or exemplary, can be obtained in tort and the writ of habeas corpus is available to restore the imprisoned person to liberty.

Subjects: Law.

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