Alicia stole Bob’s £2000 Segway and puts it up on eBay. Alice sees it on eBay for quite cheap (let’s say £150) and decides to buy it on a whim, which she does.

She suddenly then finds that she must unexpectedly move to a new city and, not really liking the Segway which she has anyway just bought for so cheap, decides to get rid of it along with most of her other unwanted possessions which she had decided to leave behind as she moves by listing them for free on gum tree.

Meanwhile Bob has opened a civil case against Alicia, for £2000, for the theft of his Segway.

Bob then sees his lost Segway for free on gum tree and claims it, before confirming that it is in fact certainly his own previously lost one, so he now has his Segway back in his possession.

Alternatively, suppose that Bob was walking in the park on the other side of town and suddenly finds his stolen Segway abandoned in the park.

What are the implications on Bob’s civil claim of his successful recovery of the Segway itself by other means, which we may further presume is either:

  • of a degraded condition so as to be reduced in value by £500, or
  • in the same exact condition in which Bob had last had it

What damages are now recoverable from Alicia in Bob’s civil suit against her, and how has the position changed by Bob’s recovery of the item?

  • 5
    did you really need to use people named Alice & Alicia? Was Al's Segway not available to be stolen?
    – Tiger Guy
    Jan 20 at 8:54
  • @TigerGuy nope, didn’t need to, it was just personal choice driven by a desire to combat negative stereotypes of men as more likely to be thieves. Jan 20 at 16:47
  • 4
    I recommend using names that don't look similar in the future to avoid confusion.
    – Tiger Guy
    Jan 20 at 20:22
  • 2
    There is a reason why people in examples are named Alice Bob Charly etc.: their letters are ascending, making it easier to keep in mind who is who.
    – Trish
    Jan 21 at 9:22
  • Well apparently people around here can get sick of seeing Alice and Bob all the time so I like to switch it up and keep it fresh to keep people happy. Also fighting negative gender stereotypes Jan 21 at 14:12

1 Answer 1


The normal remedy for conversion is return of the property or its value. Once the property is back in the control of the true owner, the damages would be:

  • nominal damages, if the property is not in degraded condition
  • actual damages, if the property has been degraded
  • damages related to loss-of-use

If the person who converted the property made profit from it in the meantime (e.g. by selling or renting it), then disgorgement of those profits is also available (Lamine v. Dorrell (1705), 2 Ld. Raym. 1216, 92 E.R. 303; Thomas v. Oakley (1811), 18 Ves. 184, 34 E.R. 287).

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