Assault is ‘an act which causes another person to apprehend the infliction of immediate, unlawful force on his person’. Jean- Claude can claim verbal assault against Boris, as Boris shouted threatening words towards him. These words include “Come within two feet of me again and I will punch your lights out”. The speech was in essence very threatening and they could result in Jean-Claude predicting future infliction of harm. In Stephens v Myers the defendant was found liable for assault as it was found that the defendant’s words were a direct threat and he was in a position to fulfil his threat on the claimant. Jean-Claude was within psychical reach from Boris when the verbal attack was being made towards him and hence there was a chance that a physical threat was present. Boris was shaken, distraught and angry and this justifies the notion that any reasonable person would have foreseen his threat and he would most likely have gotten violent is he had not fallen ill. Hence Jean- Claude has a strong claim of assault.
(ii) Breach of Contract
Jean-Claude could claim a breach of contract against Ronald. This is because Ronald made a verbal agreement which included all three elements which include offer, acceptance and consideration. He stated that he would pay Jean- Claude a split of Boris’s wages along with an extra 25% percent. This however under the Stilk v Myrick rule, could not be a valid claim seeing as Jean-Claude legally had no right to receive a payment for something he was already been contractually obliged to do. In this case, the obligation was the sailing of the boat back to Canbury. Furthermore, the rule of Williams and Joffery could not apply seeing as in the case the court held that the consideration for a promise of more money could be present if the ‘promise receives a practical benefit from the performance and there was no duress’. But Jean- Claude used duress in order to obtain the extra 25%. This is because Jean-Claude was fully aware that Ronald was desperately in need of taking the ship back to Canbury under the penalty clause. Jean-Claude further reiterated his duress to Ronald by stating “You know very well you need to make that deadline with Merkel Builders” and “I’ve got you over a barrel caption”. If these facts were presented to the courts, Jean-Claude would have no viable claim as Ronald was under duress at the time of the offer.
2) Vladimir in relation to any claims he may bring against Ronald
Battery is said to be the ‘intentional application of unlawful force to another person’. Vladimir could file a claim of battery towards Ronald as he was slapped across the face by Ronald. Vladimir had been the first to show physical force in the scenario by punching Ronald, but due to the fact that Vladimir only hit Ronald due to a reminder of a traumatising past experience of violence and hurt. This means that he was mentally not in the right mindset and hence he was unintentionally performing the act of battery. But an issue is that Vladimir can not really use the defence of intentional infliction of emotional distress by Ronald as it was not an intentional act when he grabbed the red sauce. Intentional infliction of emotional or psychiatric harm would need intention and Ronald’s action was an indirect unintentional interference. Wilkinson v Downton found that the defendant had to be aware that they were causing harm, plus they would have to have the intent and be reckless in accordance to the reproductions they would cause. This does not correlate with the mistaken action of dropping the red sauce by Ronald. Hence Vladimir could not use the defence of distress when justifying his punch on Ronald and his claim on battery would generally not be accepted by the courts.
(ii) Breach of Contract
Vladimir can sue for breach of contract towards Ronald as he was made two promises. The first was the verbal promise Ronald made which was agreed to by Vladimir that he would pay Vladimir £200 for the fixing of the engine. After the fixing of the engine Ronald later said he would have to reduce the promised price to £100. Vladimir could make a claim seeing as the performing act was not under his contractual agreement and his duty as a seaman. The fixing of the engine was an extra service outside his Job description. The rule of Williams and Roffey Bros could apply seeing as there was a practical benefit for Ronald. In Vladimir fixing the engine, he helped commence the journey on time and Ronald would avoid paying the penalty fees. Furthermore, there was no duress as Ronald made the offer willingly and hence it can be said under the case law, consideration was present and Vladimir has a case to receive his payment. Thirdly, even though Vladimir chose to receive a part instalment for his rightful £200 that does not mean Vladimir could not claim his balance at a later date. When Ronald had won £100,000 pounds Vladimir could still ask for his remaining balance as Ronald’s initial excuse of not having enough money was no longer applicable. This is under the case law of Pinel’s case. Furthermore, similarly to Jean-Claude, Vladimir could not really claim part of Boris’s wages as he had a contractual agreement to sail back and hence no extra compensation to fulfilling a duty he was already bound to do was present.
3)Boris in relation to any claims he may bring against Ronald and Jean-Claude
Boris could further claim battery on Ronald as he did not consent to the Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation he was receiving. This is a challenging notion as it could be claimed that Ronald was only trying to help him. But in the cases of F V West Berkshire Health Authority, it was said that ‘any touching of another’s body can amount to a charge of battery and a trespass’. But an issue at hand is this Boris’s claim may not necessarily be liable because unlike the case, he was unconscious and couldn’t give or not give consent. It was up to Ronald to make the call the help him and hence Ronald could argue necessity. The reasoning behind necessity is that ‘treatment without consent can be considered lawful if it is given in the best interests of the patient’. Hence there is a very slim chance Boris would succeed in his claim.
Boris could claim battery against Jean-Claude because without his consent and at a moment of distress, Jean- Claude touched him. Battery does not have to be a violent attack and that even simply by tapping someone on the shoulder, this can be classified as unlawful touching. In the case of Wilson v Pringle, the courts stated that in order for touching someone to be considered battery there has to be unlawful intent. Boris could further argue that his state of mind was convinced that Jean-Claude had tried to poison him and hence he did feel like there was unlawful intent when Jean-Claude put his hand on his shoulder. But by putting one’s hand on a shoulder is not necessarily a harmful act and hence chances of being viable claim is low.
However, a more extreme case of battery was the confirmation of the poisoning by Jean-Claude.This helps satisfy the two conditions of battery as an intention to apply force was shown to Boris and Jean-Claude foresaw the likelihood of harm to Boris as there is a 100% chance that if you will deliberately poison someone they would become physically ill. This shows that Jean-Claude was aware of his actions. It furthermore confirms intent, due to the fact he stated his motive by expressing “That will teach you for messing around with my sister”. In Wilson v Pringle it was found that hostility is linked to acting unlawfully and in the case that Jean- Claude was upset about his sister, hostility can be found.
4)Ronald in relation to any claims he may bring against Theresa and Vladimir
The first claim of assault would be towards Theresa as she partook in a silent phone call to Ronald’s mobile. Legally this does warrant a claim under the rule of R v Ireland where it was found that silent phone calls can amount to assault and harm especially if the claimant feels a threat and is distraught. Furthermore, it was found that liability for a defendant would lie on the fact that the claimant reasonable foresaw danger and believed the oral threat could be carried out sufficiently. Ronald was mentally shaken especially seeing as it was described to change his mood and worry him during his date with Amber. Hence a claim on assault would most likely be a viable one.
The second claim on assault on Theresa would be the text message he received that displays threatening content such as ‘Consider yourself a dead man walking’ and this was included with a knife emoji. Under the case of R v Constanza , it stated harm would have to be foreseeable by a claimant in a case where they were being assaulted with words and threats and there is ‘immediate unlawful violence’. Any reasonable person in Ronald’s position could foresee threats and harm resulting from the messages sent, especially since at the time he had no idea who was targeting him.
I would also say that Ronald would additionally have the claim of harassment. Harassment can be dealt with through the Protection of Harassment Act which helps creates a civil remedy for harassment in section 3. It is said that conduct will be eligible for harassment if the actions is such that ‘a reasonable person in the same situation as the defendant would think the actions done against them could lead to an even greater harassment of another form’. Due to the fact that not only did Ronald receive a silent call, threatening text messages and now thirdly a very threatening Youtube video of the ‘Grim Reaper’ that resulted to him being visibly shaken, ending his date and going home, means that all this can amount to the claim of harassment. This is due to the fact that harassment is warranted legally after two incidents and more, and in this case, there were three incidents. In the case of Hayes v Willoughby, it was found that the defendants actions must pass the idea of rationality and if they are conducting themselves in actions in order to effectively harm the well being of the victim and if a reasonable person would foresee the effects of their actions. If the defendants actions correlate with harassment and they are intending to do so, then they must be found liable. The fact that Ronald was physically sick when thinking about his scenario could correlate to the physical infringement condition, this could also correlate to Wilkinson v Downton as anxiety and distress along with the intention of the defendant is necessary to claim harassment. Since the events changed Ronald personality, leaving him unable to sleep and the fact he started therapy means that the chances of him having a successful harassment claim is present.
Ronald could sue Vladimir for battery because Vladimir had punched him on the nose and this is an unlawful touching. But legally it may not completely qualify as battery it may not necessarily constitute to a battery as it was not an intentional use of force. But any reasonable person in Vladimir’s position would have known the punching of Ronald would result in harm. If Vladimir filed a claim on Ronald’s slap he could argue self-defence. A Condition for self defence would be that the claimant’s belief at the time would not only be honest but would have to also be what a reasonable person would do too. Another condition would be that it has to be proportionate to what to the force that was exerted against them and in this case Ronald merely reacted the same way. However, in the case of Lane V Holloway, where there was a proportionate fist fight showed that provocation was not a leeway for trespass. Hence under this case, Ronald’s possible defence of self-defence would be seen as a provocation and that means he had no right to hit Vladimir back and a claim against Vladimir would not be liable.