Are your goods being wrongfully withheld by another person? Have you made a formal demand for their return without success? It may be that the other person has committed the tort of detinue.
We occasionally see rogues unlawfully withhold goods in order to exert pressure on another party to do, or not do certain things. This is outrageous behaviour and in some circumstances, unlawful.
For example, at the end of a storage agreement, a storage company unlawfully withheld our client’s stock and only proposed to deliver it up once our client waived its right to bring a claim for stock lost during the term of the agreement. Such conduct is theft and detinue. If the rogue had begun using the stock for its own use, our client could have also brought a claim for conversion.
The tort of detinue is the wrongful detention of goods after the owner has made a lawful demand for their return. To be successful in bringing an action for detinue, a person must usually demonstrate:
1) a formal demand for the items coupled with a subsequent refusal, and
2) an immediate right to possession of the goods at the time of the refusal.
The remedies available for detinue include the delivery up of the goods and damages. This is assessed at the date of judgment, not the date of any refusal to return the goods.