Detention of goods (in the context of a cause of action)

Detention of goods (in relation to a cause of action) refers to the act of withholding from a lawfully entitled person the possession of land or goods to which they have an immediate right. Often in cases of detention of goods, there is a demand for return from the rightful owner, followed by a refusal by the current possessor.

Detention of goods usually arises over personal property. Registering your security interest over personal property on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) may expedite the process of getting goods returned, and/or ensure your claim to the property remains superior over others’.

Detention of goods is governed by the Civil Liability Act in each state (in NSW, section 93 refers to judgments for detention of goods). Detention of goods may give rise to a tortious claim of detinue, which allows lawful owners with an immediate right to recover property wrongfully taken.

Detention of goods may be addressed with an order of injunction, to prevent the sale, alteration, or damage of goods in the possession of someone other than the lawfully entitled owner.