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Immediate pursuit is a common law principle describing rules of engagement to enter into combat with or apprehend and forcibly detain another, invade one's privacy, etc. Immediate pursuit enables, for example, a citizen to arrest a person committing some offence, without incurring legal liability. It also justifies active/aggressive countermeasures to theft or other intrusion.

Immediate pursuit is also called Fresh pursuit or hot pursuit.

This is also the legal term for the right of a police officer or private citizen to use extraordinary means with regard to criminals or "tortfeasors" who have just committed a crime or tort. Under this doctrine police may make warrantless searches of fleeing suspects or cross jurisdictional boundaries for fleeing suspects and private citizens may use reasonable force to retake property which has just been taken from them.[1]


  1. ^ Black's Law Dictionary (2nd Pocket ed. 2001) pg. 296.

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