Answer To MBE Question From November 29th

(B) is correct.

Issue: Whether there was a trespass to land.

Rule: Trespass occurs when the defendant interferes with the plaintiff’s possession of the land. A defendant is liable for trespass to land if he intentionally enters the land of another person without lawful excuse.  Note that the plaintiff need not prove actual injury to land. A  trespass  to  land  may  occur  where  the  defendant  fails  to  remove  something  from  the  land  of  another  or  unlawfully  remains on the land of another after a lawful right of entry has lapsed.  Furthermore, the defendant must have acted intentionally to cause the intrusion. In other words,  motive or subjective  knowledge of ownership of the land is immaterial, but intent to enter is required (thus if one was to trip and fall accidentally onto someone’s property, this would not be trespass, but if someone walked onto  the  property,  even  if  they  did  not  realize  it  was another’s  property,  this  would  satisfy  the  element of intent).

Analysis: Here, the children entered the neighbor’s field without his permission. The intrusion is actual  and  intentional  as  the  children  voluntarily  crossed  over  to  the  neighbor’s  property. Thus the children committed the tort of trespass.


(B) is correct because the children intentionally entered the neighbor’s land without privilege or permission. Remember, motive is not imported – the act of entering the property in and of itself is intentional, and this is all that is needed to establish the tort of trespass.

(A) is incorrect because mistake is not a defense to trespass.

(C) is incorrect because actual damage is not a requirement to establish the tort of trespass.

(D) is  incorrect because  it  is  not  necessary  that  the  land  be  demarcated  in  order  to  establish trespass.