Fouldes v Willoughby (1841) 8 M & W 540   

Key Point

  • Where goods are taken from the owner without any intention to exercise dominion over them (i.e. to treat them as one’s own), there is no conversion


  • D managed a ferry, he received complaints about C’s drunken behaviour
  • D put C’s two horses ashore after unsuccessfully asking C to leave the ferry
  • But this did not have the intended effect of making the C leave

Held (Exchequer Court)

  • There was no conversion but there was trespass to goods

Abinger CJ

  • ‘It is a proposition familiar to all lawyers, that a simple asportation of a chattel, without any intention of making any further use of it, although it may be a sufficient foundation for an action of trespass, is not sufficient to establish a conversion.’
  • In this case, D was happy to give the horses to C if C got off the ferry and D had no intention of exercising any personal entitlement or dominion over the horses