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.