Case of the Thorns

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Case of the Thorns (1466) YB 6 Ed 4, 7a pl 18 is an important historical court case from the King's Bench in common law torts. The English case, which occurred in the 15th century is the earliest record of a common law court basing its decision on the now fundamental principle of torts: That if an individual suffers (civil) damages at the hand of another, that individual has a right to be compensated.[1]

The case technically cited as Hulle v. Orynge 1466. Y.B.M. 6 Edw. IV, folio 7, placitum 18. is still widely used in American law schools, in introductory tort classes.


Although the decision was divided, the majority held that if a person damages another property there is a tort even if the action that bought such damages was itself lawful. [2] As Pigot, J states, "And so if a man has a fish-pond in his manor and he empties the water out of the pond to take the fishes and the water floods my land, I shall have a good action, and yet the act was lawful."[3]


This case excerpt was summarised in Bessy v Olliot & Lambert[4] (1681) as follows.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Thorns Case.
  2. ^ The Thorns Case.
  3. ^ Hull v. Orange, Y.B. Mich. 6 Ed. 4, f. 7, pl. 18 (1466)
  4. ^ [Bessey v. Olliot & Lambert, T. Raym. 467 (1681).
  5. ^ Case of the Thorns.