Carr-Saunders v Dick McNeill Associates: 1986

The claim was for interference with the plaintiff’s right to light.
Held: There is a need to approach infringements of easements of light with flexibility. The plaintiff’s subjective views as to the loss of light were not to the point. When deciding upon an appropriate award in relation to the notional ‘reasonable sum’ or ‘fair figure’ for the defendant to pay, regard was to be had to the bargaining position of the parties in order to arrive at a price which would have been likely to have been negotiated as the reasonable price of a licence for the action taken by the defendant which constituted the invasion of the claimant’s rights. As between claims in contract or in tort, there is no reason for any difference of approach when awarding damages in respect of wrongful interference by a defendant with the use and enjoyment of the claimant’s land. The court having been shown daylight contour plans by both parties’ expert witnesses: ‘the conventional fifty-fifty rule by which a room may be regarded as adequately lit for all ordinary purposes if 50% or more of its area receives not less than one lumen of light at table level.’ When dismissing an argument that recently erected internal walls should be disregarded when determining whether there had been an actionable infringement: ‘I reject this approach. It applies the fifty-fifty rule rigidly as if it were a rule of law, and not (as it is) as merely a useful guide to be adopted or discarded according to the circumstances. The fifty-fifty rule is not, in my judgment, to be applied without any regard to the shape and size of the room or the disposition of the light within the room to which it is applied.’


Millett J


[1986] 2 All ER 888, [1986] 1 WLR 922


CitedWrotham Park Estate Ltd v Parkside Homes Ltd ChD 1974
55 houses had been built by the defendant, knowingly in breach of a restrictive covenant, imposed for the benefit of an estate, and in the face of objections by the claimant.
Held: The restrictive covenant not to develop other than in . .
CitedBracewell v Appleby ChD 1975
The defendant wrongly used and asserted a right of way over a private road to a house which he had built.
Held: To restrain the defendant from using the road would render the new house uninhabitable. The court refused an injunction on the . .

Cited by:

CitedWrotham Park Settled Estates v Hertsmere Borough Council CA 12-Apr-1993
Land had been purchased under compulsory purchase powers. It had been subject to restrictive covenants in favour of neighbouring land which would have prevented the development now implemented. The question was how the compensation should be . .
CitedSevern Trent Water Ltd v Barnes CA 13-May-2004
The water company appealed an award of damages after it had been found to have laid a water main under the claimant’s land without his knowledge or consent. The court had awarded restitutionary damages.
Held: The judge fell into error in . .
CitedMidtown Ltd v City of London Real Property Company Ltd ChD 20-Jan-2005
Tenants occupied land next to land which was to be developed after compulsory acquisition. The tenants and the landlords asserted a right of light over the land, and sought an injunction to prevent the development. The developer denied that any . .
CitedRegan v Paul Properties DPF No 1 Ltd and others ChD 27-Jul-2006
The claimant sought an injunction claiming that new building works were a nuisance in breaching his rights of light.
Held: The claim for an injunction failed. Whatever may be the position in cases of other wrongful conduct, in the case of an . .
CitedTamares (Vincent Square) Ltd. v Fairpoint Properties (Vincent Square) Ltd ChD 8-Feb-2007
The defendant had been found liable for infringing the claimant’s right of light. The court considered the proper measure of damages.
Held: The court should ask what might be the fair result of a hypothetical negiation for the sale of the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Damages

Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.186373