Mercantile Business Finance Ltd v Sibec Developments Ltd: QBD 1992

The court considered what was required to establish the tort of conversion.
Held: Demand is not an essential precondition of the tort: what is required is an overt act of withholding possession from the true owner. Such an act may consist of a refusal to deliver up the chattel on demand, but it may be demonstrated by other conduct, for example by asserting a lien. Some positive act of withholding, however, is required; so that, absent any positive conduct on the part of the defendant, the plaintiff can establish a cause of action in conversion only by making a demand.


Millett J


[1992] 1 WLR 1253


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedMarcq v Christie, Manson and Woods Ltd CA 23-May-2003
The claimant’s stolen painting was put up for sale by the defendant. On being withdrawn, they returned it to the person who had brought it in. The claimant sought damages.
Held: There was no reported case in which a court has had to consider . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other

Updated: 06 August 2022; Ref: scu.182760