The Tort of Trespass
The object of the criminal law is to preserve the peace of the community, and this is achieved by an efficient police force. In the Middle Ages the policing system was not so strong as it is today and much peace enforcement was left in the hands of the individual. In the cases of minor, yet obvious, wrongs involving a breach of the King’s peace, it was left to the victim, as a substitute for private vengeance, to bring his own culprit before the court. This the victim would do under an action of trespass.
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