Burón v Denman (1848)
Chapter of Charles Mitchell and Paul Mitchell (eds), Landmark Cases in the Law of Tort (Oxford: Hart, 2010)
35 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2018
Date Written: March 27, 2018
Discusses Buron v Denman, an action for trespass to goods by a Spanish slaver against a British naval captain, which was one of the last cases in which an English court recognised a plaintiff’s property rights in other human beings. The case is also a milestone in the development of the rule that ratification of an agent’s unauthorised acts can take effect in the same way as prior authorisation. It also remains a significant authority for the rule that a person who commits a tort in a foreign state against a foreign national has a personal immunity from suit if he acts in an official capacity with the result that his actions constitute an act of state.
Keywords: Slavery, anti-slavery movement, abolition, Lord Denman, tort law, legal history, agency law, ratification, act of state defence
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