Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Fence Definition:

A structure which encloses real property, wholly or partially, to impede entry and exit.

Related Terms: Spite Fence, Party Wall

In Lahey, Justice Haines of the Ontario High Court of Justice wrote, albeit in the context of a specific insurance policy but one which did not define the term:

"... a fence ... refers to a structure which encloses wholly or partially some piece of (real) property so as to impede ingress and egress. It may be composed of anything so long as it creates a line of obstacle serving this purpose."

In the 4th Edition of Halsbury's Laws of England (2002), Volume 4(1), ¶947, the authors write:

"Although fences are frequently used to mark the situation of boundaries, nonetheless they are primarily guards against intrusion, or barriers to prevent persons or animals from straying out, and therefore in this sense the term includes not only hedges, banks and walls, but also ditches."

In The Law of Party Walls and Fences, the author writes:

"Fences ... are ... guards against intrusion. A fence may consist of almost any kind of enclosure or division but a hedge, ditch, bank or wall will be most commonly found to answer that term."


  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Fence Law
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Legal Definition of Boundary
  • Lahey v Hartford Fire Insurance 67 DLR 2d 506 (1968); affirmed on appeal (1969) 2 OR 883
  • Woolrych, H., The Law of Party Walls and Fences (London: W. Benning, 1845), page 281


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