Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary
In tort law, detinue is an action to recover for the wrongful taking of personal property.
The tort of detinue was quite wide-ranging some 200 years ago, but its role was in time taken over by the tort of conversion. Traditionally, detinue existed whenever the defendant either used or retained goods supplied by the claimant under a bailment, but without the claimant’s authorisation. By the latter part of the 20th century, though, the tort of detinue had contracted until it was only being pleaded in cases where the bailee received goods from the bailor and then lost them. The traditional view was that this could not be conversion, since conversion required a conscious (i.e. positive) act on the part of the bailee. The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act (1977) abolished detinue altogether, and expanded the tort of conversion to cover this last remaining circumstance where detinue might have been pleaded. Hence, by statute, the bailee’s (unintentional) error would today amount to the tort of conversion.
See interference with goods.
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This glossary post was last updated: 5th April, 2020 | 2 Views.