Request callback

    Claim of Right

    Get A Free Case EvaluationHave a legal issue?

    Submit your inquiry to speak to a Senior Lawyer

      Best Claim of Right Defence Lawyers

      Our lawyers have successfully used the ‘claim of right’ defence throughout the years to have many a client found ‘not guilty’.

      This defence applies if you are accused of taking property (including money), so it is important that an accredited specialist criminal lawyer advises you on whether it is available in your case.

      If you believe that this defence may apply to you, contact us immediately to speak to our friendly team.

      What is a claim of right defence?

      A claim of right defence applies if you took property (including money) because you held an honest belief that you were legally entitled to it.

      This defence is often used in stealing and fraud cases but can also be a defence to an assault charge if the assault was committed to obtain property.

      When can you use a claim of right defence?

      A claim of right defence can be used for a number of offences including:

      1. Larceny;
      2. Break, enter and steal;
      3. Fraud;
      4. Assault (if the assault was to reclaim property).

      There are numerous other offences to which this defence applies. Contact us now to speak to our team about whether this defence can work for you.

      How Do You Prove a Claim of Right Defence?

      The leading case on R v Fuge (2001) 123 A Crim R 310 at 314–315 sets out the criteria for a claim of right defence to be made out:

      1. You must hold a belief that you have a right to the property or money in the hands of another (this can include a company);
      2. Your claim must be genuine, but it does not need to be based in fact or law;
      3. Your belief does not have to be reasonable, but a ‘colourable pretence’ will not suffice;
      4. Your belief must be that you were legally entitled to the property (ie. it cannot only be a moral entitlement);
      5. Where a claim of right is genuinely held, it can be a defence to a crime of force which was committed to take the property. The relevant issue is whether you had a genuine belief in a legal right to the property rather than a belief in a legal right to employ the means in question to recover it;
      6. The claim of right does not have to be the specific property or banknotes, but can also extend to cases where what is taken is their equivalent in value;
      7. The claim of right must extend to the entirety of the property or money taken. You cannot take more property or money than you believe you own;
      8. If you are charged as an accessory, what is relevant is the existence of the claim of the principal offender(s). There can be no accessorial liability unless there has in fact been a foundational knowing of the essential facts which made what was done a crime, and unless the person who is charged as an accessory intentionally aided, abetted, counselled or procured those acts.
      9. The prosecution must negative a claim of right where it is sufficiently raised on the evidence, to the satisfaction of the jury.


      Claim of right defences are quite technical and take significant preparation. There will need to be significant preparation undertaken to ensure that the defence is successful, and all of the criteria are met.

      That is why you should contact us now to speak to Australia’s best criminal defence lawyers.

      Ask a question now!