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Former good article nomineeTrespass was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Railroad info

2 questions about the paragraphs on railroad trespassing. 1) Does it make sense that "police ... prosecute"? That's not a normal function of "police" (per my "extensive legal training" via the Law and Order intro).

2) Isn't it misleading (at best) to compare trespass fines with drunk driving fines? The latter often include loss of driving privileges and jail time. But this article only talks about "fines".

- (talk) 04:44, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

Status in English Law

It is my understanding that in the UK, trespass is NOT an offence. However causing any kind of damage whilst trespassing is an offence. -- SGBailey 08:51 May 4, 2003 (UTC)

Trespass is a civil wrong and will not attract criminal liability unless it is aggravated in some way. It is possible, in a civil claim, to sue a trespasser either to enforce your proprietary integrity or to prevent further instances of trespass. This will not be a criminal offence. --The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk o contribs) 18:18, 27 February 2005 (UTC)

Scotland is different from England with regards to Trespass. (talk)Lancetyrell -- Preceding undated comment added 14:28, 26 October 2014 (UTC)

Dirt Biking on property

If a person is caught on the property/or has been seen by security once finally caught.... what can security do to stop them from coming back...even if the trespasser knows that he/she shouldn't be there.-- 14:36, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

The guard can take a report and refer the matter to the police. If the landowner/manager is really conscientious about following through (ie, not just going through the motions of having security onsite for appearance sake) they will press charges and file for a restraining order. knoodelhed 14:59, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
In English law, as (some one - please sign your contributions!) said it is a tort - a civil wrong. If the tresspasser has not no damage, you will get nominal damages (perhaps £10). If you can prove he has done actual damage, you can make him pay the cost of putting it right. If it is serious enough, you may be able to get an injunction against him. The right of action lies in the person in possession of the land - the tenant if there is one, otherwise the owner. If your concern is with what is happening on neighbouring land, you should consider the tort of nuisance. Scottish and Irish law is probably different. That of other common law jurisdictions may be similar to that of England (but not necessarily). Peterkingiron 23:16, 7 July 2006 (UTC)
Seeing the person had no right to be there in the first place, just have the person arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. The key is does the person have a right to be there. If the private property was fenced in with no public access then the person is trespassing. If not, as in an apartment complex's court yard, no fence, open access from many directions and no "No Trespass" signs, then it is not trespassing. -- NYC 21:52, 22 March 2007 --The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:52, 22 March 2007 (UTC).


I added a new subheading of prevention, with some basic topical sentences and supported by some of my own photography. If people wish to expand it, please do so. Likewise, if it's seen as not wanted in the article, delete it appropriately. Reverieuk 22:20, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Additional Exceptions

I'm going to be adding a few more minor exceptions to trespassing laws. Feel free to revert if you think it's out of line.--Legomancer 03:24, 11 May 2007 (UTC)


From the article:

A notable exception is the U.S. state of Texas, where it is legal to use deadly force against trespassers after dark (Penal Code § 9.42).

This is not correct; Texas law allows use of deadly force when necessary to prevent theft or criminal mischief (crime of intentionally causing property damage) after dark, but not in case of simple trespass. Texas penal code (main page). - Mike Rosoft 08:11, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Reply to Mike. There are at least 3 great laws working for land owners in Texas.
(1) As you pointed out, you can kill punks trying to tag your (or anyone else's) building (criminal mischief) as long as it's dark.
(2) Day or night, if you need to, you can shot trespassers that won't leave. The statue states:
§ 9.41. PROTECTION OF ONE'S OWN PROPERTY. (a) A person in lawful possession of land or tangible, movable property is justified in using force against another when and to the degree the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on the land or unlawful interference with the property.
(3) And the sweet icing on the cake, nonlethal booby traps are legal, too:
§ 9.44. USE OF DEVICE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. The justification afforded by Sections 9.41 and 9.43 applies to the use of a device to protect land or tangible, movable property if: (1) the device is not designed to cause, or known by the actor to create a substantial risk of causing, death or serious bodily injury; and (2) use of the device is reasonable under all the circumstances as the actor reasonably believes them to be when he installs the device. --Unsigned

Whatever the position in Texas, please remember the scope of this article is potentially worldwide. In dealing with a legal concept, such as this, it is inevitable that not every aspect of local or national legislation can be covered. Peterkingiron (talk) 19:01, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

You misinterpret your source. Paragraph 9.41 states: "use force"; not deadly force. Call a lawyer before you post. No where in the US, on private property, is it OK to shoot trespassers outside your front door unless they pose an immediate threat to Life,; not property. Even when breaking into your home, only states with the Castle Doctrine allow you to shoot first without being charged for assault or attempted murder /murder.(Of course, these charges usually fall right apart if the intruder was armed.) And, Peterkingiron, if you look up "Trespasser" on Wikipedia, it Does say:"shooting ok in US" (wrong!)--so this point is justified here if it is mentioned there. (talk) 15:23, 29 October 2009 (UTC) (talk) 15:19, 29 October 2009 (UTC)

Article quality

Or, rather, lack thereof. The article as it stands is very poor.

  • The article needs editing for grammar and so on ("... laws vary from each jurisdiction...").
  • The tone is informal and unencyclopaedic ("... you can be fined upto and including £1000 for trespassing on the railway. This is a significant increase from a few years ago...", "For example, if you have a car accident ...").
  • The structure is poor. There should be a general introduction and accurate statements of what the law says about trespass in significant jurisdictions.
  • The article is full of weasel words. "Most jurisdictions" presumably means "I think it's like this where I live and it seems reasonable to me so I guess everyone else does this too."
  • The article is heavily based upon law of England and Wales (much of it outdated), and Scotland, and current law of USA and Canada. It does place the subject in an internationalised context, nor does it clearly address the subject in relation to the different key legal systems operating internationally. --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:12, 28 October 2009 (UTC)
  • There are almost no references.

Dricherby (talk) 01:24, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

You tagged this article that it was magazine style. I removed that tag because it was defectviely applied. However, this does of course not preclude a tag being re-imposed if appropriate. Personally, I consider the article a reasonable statement, though it is difficult to cover the position in every jurisdiction. Perhaps, too much of the article is a series of bulletted points, but that (I think) is about all that is wrong. Certainly there should be references, but that applies to many articles. Your complaint about "most jurisdictions" is probably justified, I would suggest that you change this to "many jurisdictions". The difficulty is that almost every jurisdiction has its own laws, and its own legal text books. Peterkingiron (talk) 19:16, 28 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't wish to change it to "many jurisdictions" because I don't know if that's true, either. Hence, I flagged the article as being of poor quality in the hope that somebody who knows about the subject would come along and clean it up. Obviously, the article will never constitute legal advice but it would be much better to have an article with verifiable facts (e.g., "In the USA and England, X is permitted[cite]") rather than one with unverifiable broad statements (e.g., "In most/many/some places, Y is illegal"). Given the current, unverifiable, state of the article, I'd find it very hard to rewrite in a more formal tone without deleting a lot of content.
Dricherby (talk) 20:14, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the article lacks a good structure. Headers should include: Legal concepts, Origin, Application in different jurisdictions (covering the main legal systems (English Common Law, European Codified law, muslim law, socialist law, chinese law, Germanic law, US law, hindu law), and then examples in different national jurisdictions). --Preceding unsigned comment added by Amarantus (talk o contribs) 17:23, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

Is this true?

"Most jurisdictions do not allow "self-help" to remove trespassers. The usual procedure is to ask the trespassing person to leave, then to call law enforcement officials if they do not. As long as the trespasser is not posing an immediate threat, they cannot be removed by force. It is usually illegal to arrest a trespasser and hold them on the property until law enforcement arrives as this defeats the purpose of allowing them to cure the trespass by leaving. A large exception to this rule are railroads in the United States and Canada, who employ their own police forces to enforce state or provincial trespassing laws. Railroad police have the ability to independently arrest and prosecute trespassers without the approval or assistance of local law enforcement. Further, in many jurisdictions, trespassing on railroad tracks is considered a very severe offense comparable to drunk driving, with severe fines imposed on the tresspassers."

If this were really the case then bodygaurds, private security agencies, etc . . . would be illegal, as would people removing by necessary (though not deadly) force someone that is on their property. I have never heard this before, and would like a citation, our source as this does not even sound remotely right. (talk) 00:42, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

In England, a self-help remedy still exists, provided that the owner can enter peacefully. With some exceptions such as railways and airports, the police will only take action to prevent a breach of the peace. Peterkingiron (talk) 18:36, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm not quite sure I understand you. A self-help remedy still exists provided that the owenr can enter peacefully?

What I am asking is is it true that "As long as the trespasser is not posing an immediate threat, they cannot be removed by force. It is usually illegal to arrest a trespasser and hold them on the property until law enforcement arrives as this defeats the purpose of allowing them to cure the trespass by leaving." This sounds like bull to me, because I know that rich people have private security, bodygaurds, and that if somebody comes into my home I can legally throw them out by force.

Just to clarify you may not be able to hold somebody there till law enforcement arrives, but you can certainly use force to throw them out.

At least I thought so. (talk) 05:13, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

In many states in the US like CA, a citizen's arrest -holding until PD arrive--is legal. (talk) 15:15, 29 October 2009 (UTC)


Right of public access to the wilderness and Freedom to roam in the end of this article lead to the same page. --Juufkk (talk) 17:11, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons

This reference may require clarification. Since "invitee" has just been defined, stating that they are not invitees seems redundant. Nor am I sure that the conclusion that since they are not invitees they must be trespassers is valid. It certainly creates the misleading impression that they do not have a right to come up your walk in order to reach your front door. I believe this issue was addressed in the USA in the 1940's. The precedent-setting decision referred to a "beaten path" to one's front door and established that it is generally not trespassing to traverse this "beaten path" in order to knock on someone's front door. Few people care to remove the "beaten path" by putting up "No Trespassing" signs in front of their houses. Does anyone have the reference for this descision?

Also, the Stratton, Ohio case, while important, does not belong in this article because trespassing was not an issue in it. I suspect it was included because it would not have been worth arguing if the law of trespass already prevented unsolicited visits from Jehovah's Witnesses.

--User:Chappell 31 July 2008


I have not reverted what has been added by an (unlogged in) editor (probably a French-speaker), though I am not happy with what he has done. This is because the origin is in Law French - Medieval Norman French as spoken in England - not modern French. Can some one tidy this up? Peterkingiron (talk) 16:05, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Forgive us our trespasses

My understanding was that the phrase was formerly "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors", and that this formulation was changed when the bankers' power grew, and as an accommodation to them; that is, once lending at interest became popular.

The meaning would be "forgive us for those commitments we made, arguably well meant at the start, but now seen to have gone hopelessly bad, and possibly we should have known better if we were not such nitwits."

( Martin | talk o contribs 20:33, 14 June 2009 (UTC))

A large tree at least 100 years old whose branches overhang the neightbours property. The neighbour has asked solicitors and they have written demanding that I remove this nuisance. Am I liable? --Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:42, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Necessity of Revision

I found it necessary to completely rewrite the page. The previous page was filled with errors and lacked fluidity and cohesiveness. The new version resembles the Trespass in English law page, but expands its scope to other jurisdictions, particularly the United States, but also Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.Andy85719 (talk) 23:16, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Trespass and other laws

As is often the case, the word "trespass" is not easily conveyed in other languages. While it is reasonable to expect an international perspective on the topic, there are few analogues outside the common law community. Perhaps we ought to refer criminal trespass statutes to which this page now links to a page on unlawful entry, as nearly all of those pages lack mention of the tort (delict).Andy85719 (talk) 23:25, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

It indeed seems the interwiki links point to articles on a different topic, about the integrity of one's home and its surroundings: de:Hausfriedensbruch ("hause"), it:Violazione di domicilio ("domicilio"), nl:Huisvredebreuk ("huis") and also es:Allanamiento de morada (which talks about "domicilio"). My knowledge of ko, id, ms and pl does not allow me to check title or content. --LPfi (talk) 17:00, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

GA Review

This review is transcluded from Talk:Trespass/GATrespass. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Ironholds (talk) 12:39, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

General problems

I'm quite tempted to quickfail this, quickfast. It completely fails to give a worldwide view of the topic, most of the references are to cases and not to the third-party sources we prefer, and said case references don't take into account the lay status of the average reader. Ironholds (talk) 12:39, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Firstly, I cannot see how one extends the worldview of this article beyond common law jurisdictions. While I concede that more sources citing cases from such jurisdictions as South Africa, India, and Australia are desirable, the current case law provided from cases in the U.S., UK, and Canada covers variations in trespass law exceedingly well. Besides, Commonwealth countries find decisions in Canada and the UK as persuasive precedent. I can only conclude that you desire to extend the article to include analogous conduct under civil law systems. Unfortunately, trespass (the tort) does not exist in these systems in any form substantively similar to common law (i.e. as a tort), and criminal trespass, which does exist in these systems in a roughly similar form (i.e. Hausfriedensbruch), ought to be given a separate article like assault. (The closest thing in German law to trespass to land/chattel is found under property law at §§ 861-64 BGB, sections outlining remedies for property right interference by so-called disturbers. Trespass to person finds no analog other than the general liability provided at § 823 BGB and at § 825 (sexual assault).) Perhaps I should move this article to trespass (tort). Secondly, I would note that a number of articles categorized as "good" dealing with legal topics often contain majority case references. Should "we" eschew direct sources of law--cases--in favor of regurgitations of the law, thereby failing to use the best available sources? Thirdly, I refuse to concede that the average reader will find it exceedingly difficult to understand that a reference to a court case after a statement indicates the statement finds support therein. Andy85719 (talk) 21:49, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
No, I never stated they'd find it difficult to understand it as a source; case citations to a layperson are unlikely to be understood. The problems with the scope are threefold. One, you do not adequately distinguish between jurisdictions. Canadian cases mixed in with English cases mixed in with US cases; writing "in some jurisdictions this happens" does not, for the lay reader, adequately explain which jurisdictions. While we will evenually have articles on the law in various jurisdictions (see Trespass in English law - I'm not entirely unfamiliar with this area) that does not remove the need for the central article to adequately explain the law in different jurisdictions by jurisdiction, not in some mass of law which is useless to the lawyer and the layperson because it is a mix from different places. Secondly, I do not mean to suggest you include civil law equivalents, but rather that there should be sections on the law in other jurisdictions. Canadian, US and English precedents are normally followed, but consider Rylands v Fletcher. Canada follows it, England follows it as a sub-tort, and the US follows it in some jurisdictions, albeit with a bizarre interpretation of "strict liability". This does not make a decent article for the case without explaining that in this situation, England is following Australia's precedent, Singapore has come up with a different twist and Scotland has eliminated the idea all together. The necessity for worldwide scope is just that; it must be worldwide, not limiting it to those jurisdictions you feel are more important than others (particularly when you haven't considered Australia, which can come up with some pretty groundbreaking tort decisions). Thirdly, on the subject of citing cases; those are primary sources, and yes, we eschew primary sourcing. Citing textbooks allows you to give academic impressions and opinions as well as the law. This does not mean you should not include case citations, as I do, but they should not be your "source". I also doubt you just picked the cases out of your mind; I assume you got it from a practitioners text or textbook of some kind? It is improper and contrary to policy to cite something found as a citation in another document, both alone and when actually basing your statements on the "other document". Ironholds (talk) 04:26, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

Should we split to Trespass and Trespass (US)? I agree that the body of this reads as US Law and not as the international philosophical concept of trespass. Endercase (talk) 13:31, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

The philosophy of trespass

Is there a philosophy of trespass? I am curious to learn if the concept of trespass can be derived from first principles, and if some theory of trespass informs, precedes, or transcends trespass laws. Thanks! --Lbeaumont (talk) 15:18, 30 July 2019 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Unlawful Entry (film) which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. --RMCD bot 15:01, 27 August 2019 (UTC)

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