Malice and unlawfulness: In tort, if an act is lawful, you won’t be breaking the law regardless of whether the act was carried out with malice or bad intention.
Bradford Corporation v Pickles (1895): The corporation had a reservoir adjacent to Pickles’s land and Pickles wanted to force the corporation to buy his land at a high price. The water that fed the reservoir was coming through Pickles’ land and Pickles dug up the soil of his land to stop the water from going into the reservoir. Though the defendant’s act was a lawful act as landowners were allowed to interfere with underground water, the corporation argued that what the defendant did was driven by malice. The court rejected the argument put forward by the corporation as what Pickles did was a lawful act regardless of whatever his reason for doing it.