Ashby vs White Case Summary
Ashby vs White, 1703 is a landmark case in the English Law of Torts. Also, Ashby vs White is also known as the “Election Case”. Moreover, it concerns the right to vote and the misfeasance of a public officer.
Ashby vs White is the landmark case law explaining the violation of an absolute right in the Law of Torts that involves legal injury even if there was no physical damage.
Ashby vs White is the case which states the importance of Fundamental Rights vested by U.K. Common Law. Ashby vs White is the case in which two important Latin Maxims were covered. These are;
- Injuria Sine Damnum – This means legal injury without any physical harm. It is a violation of a person’s legal rights without causing any physical damage. The loss could be in the form of money, loss of health or damage to property.
- Ubi jus ibi remedium – This means where there is a right, there is a remedy. This maxim explains that where an individual has a legal right, the right to sue against the wrongdoer is available whether any actual loss is sustained or not.
Facts of Ashby vs White Case
In the case of Ashby vs White, Mr Ashby was the plaintiff who was a resident of Aylesbury and Mr White was the defendant who was the police constable at a voting booth in the parliamentary elections.
The plaintiff was a resident of Aylesbury and a qualified voter in the Parliamentary Election. The defendant stopped the plaintiff from voting in the election by misfeasance of a constable at the voting booth. Hence, after being offended by the defendant’s action, Mr Ashby filed a civil case claiming damages from the defendant for infringing his right to vote.
In this case, the issue was raised “Whether a person can claim rights over the damages suffered by him due to the action of another person?”
Argument of Plaintiff
In this case, the plaintiff argued that the plaintiff was a resident of Aylesbury and was a qualified voter in the Aylesbury Parliamentary Election.
The defendant was the police constable at the pooling booth and he prevented the plaintiff from casting his vote in the Aylesbury Parliamentary Election even though the plaintiff was the qualified voter. Further, the plaintiff contended that the right to vote was infringed by the defendant.
The plaintiff contended that this should be taken into consideration and the defendant must be held liable for causing the violation of the legal right of the plaintiff.
Argument of Defendant
In this case, the defendant contended that the plaintiff was prevented by the defendant from casting his vote but the candidate to whom the plaintiff wanted to vote got elected, thus, there was no loss suffered by the plaintiff.
The defendant further contended that preventing from casting a vote does not amount to any injury or damage to the plaintiff, therefore, the plaintiff cannot claim damages against the defendant.
Judgment in Ashby vs White
In Ashby vs White case, Lord Hold C.J. was the presiding officer. Lord Hold stated that there was a violation of a Fundamental Right of the plaintiff i.e. Right to Vote. Even though the plaintiff did not sustain any actual loss or damage but his fundamental right was violated. Hence, the plaintiff was granted a remedy and allowed to claim damages against the defendant.
Further, Lord Hold stated that even though the violation of the plaintiff’s right to vote did not impact the success of the concerned candidate in the Parliamentary Election, still the plaintiff was granted damages from the defendant.
Who is the plaintiff in Ashby vs White?
In Ashby vs White case, the plaintiff was a resident of Aylesbury and a qualified voter in the Aylesbury Parliamentary Election.
What is the ratio decidendi of Ashby v White?
Ratio decidendi: Every man has a right to vote. The financial status of a person cannot decide a person’s right to vote. A person’s right to vote has been stated in the laws as well as the Constitution. It cannot be taken away by any official due to illegitimate reasons.
What was the final Judgement in Ashby vs White?
Lord Hold stated that there was a violation of a Fundamental Right of the plaintiff i.e. Right to Vote. Even though the plaintiff did not sustain any actual loss or damage but his fundamental right was violated.
Ashby vs White Case Summary – This case was known as the “Aylesbury Election Case”. Even if the plaintiff suffered no physical harm but the right of the plaintiff has been infringed then the plaintiff has the right to claim damages from the wrongdoer. And a person is entitled to claim remedies when his legal rights are violated.