Transco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council: HL 19 Nov 2003

Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works

The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher continues to exist as a remedy for damage to land or interests in land. It does not apply to works or enterprises authorised by statute. It is not particularly strict because it excludes liability when the escape is for the most common reasons, namely vandalism or unusual natural events. The cases in which there is an escape which is not attributable to an unusual natural event or the act of a third party will, by the same token, usually give rise to an inference of negligence. There is an ill-defined exception for ‘natural’ uses of land. ‘It is perhaps not surprising that counsel could not find a reported case since the second world war in which anyone had succeeded in a claim under the rule. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the intellectual effort devoted to the rule by judges and writers over many years has brought forth a mouse.’ A guide to whether there was a ‘non-natural’ user of land is to ask whether the damage was insurable. In this case liability was not established because there had been no escape of a substance brought onto the land, Transco having an easement and therefore in interest in the land. Though the occasion for the operation of the rule in Rylands is now very much restricted, it was too soon to declare it no longer to be part of English law.

Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe
[2003] UKHL 61, Times 20-Nov-2003, [2004] 1 ALL ER 589, 91 Con LR 28, [2004] 2 AC 1, [2004] Env LR 24, [2004] 1 P and CR DG12, [2003] 3 WLR 1467, [2003] 48 EGCS 127, [2003] NPC 143
House of Lords, Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher CEC 1865
Mr Fletcher’s Lancashire coal mine was flooded by the water from Mr Rylands’ mill reservoir in 1860-61.
Held: Mr Rylands was responsible. Blackburn J said: ‘We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings . .
CitedBurnie Port Authority v General Jones Property Ltd 1994
(High Court of Australia) The court treated the rule in Rylands v Fletcher as absorbed by the principles of ordinary negligence. The majority were influenced by the difficulties of interpretation and application to which the rule had given rise, the . .
CitedRoss v Fedden HL 1872
The defendant occupied premises above those of the plaintiff. Whilst the property was unattended, the water closet leaked, damaging the plaintiff’s goods on the ground floor. The waste pipe had been blocked by paper and there were other defects. . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedRHM Bakeries (Scotland) Ltd v Strathclyde Regional Council 1985
The suggestion that the decision in Rylands v Fletcher had any place in Scots law is ‘a heresy which ought to be extirpated.’ . .
CitedAttorney General v Cory Brothers and Co Ltd HL 1921
The defendant colliers placed waste from the mine in a huge heap. Rain cause the heap to slip, damaging nearby properties. the landslide in question was of what counsel described as an ‘enormous mass of rubbish’, some 500,000 tons of mineral waste . .
CitedRainham Chemical Works Ltd (in liquidation) and others v Belvedere Fish Guano Co Ltd HL 1921
At a time of war, a process was invented where picric acid was manufactured from dinitrophenol (DNP) and nitrate of soda. DNP had been used mainly for the manufacture of dyes, and was a stable compound which did not explode easily. It was not in . .
CitedPerry v Kendricks Transport Ltd CA 1956
The Act gave a defence to liability for a fire which started accidentally, this did not cover a fire which started by negligence. . .
CitedShiffman v Order of St John of Jerusalem (Grand Priory in the British Realm of the Venerable Order of the Hospital) 1936
The plaintiff recovered damages for personal injuries under the rule in Rylands -v- Fletcher. . .
CitedMiles v Forest Rock Granite Co (Leicestershire) Ltd 1918
. .
CitedCarstairs v Taylor 1871
The plaintiffs were tenants of the ground floor of a building. The defendants occupied the top floor. A rat gnawed through a box in which rain water was collected from the roof, causing a leak into the plaintiff’s property, causing damage. No . .
CitedAnderson v Oppenheimer CA 1880
The defendant owned a house in the City of London with different floors let to tenants. In the lease of the ground floor, he covenanted to allow the tenant ‘peaceably hold and enjoy the demised premises during the term without any interruption by . .
CitedRickards v Lothian PC 11-Feb-1913
The claim arose because the outflow from a wash-basin on the top floor of premises was maliciously blocked and the tap left running, with the result that damage was caused to stock on a floor below.
Held: The provision of a domestic water . .
CitedTenant v Goldwin 1704
He whose dirt it is must keep it that it may not trespass. The defendant was liable where he failed to maintain the partition wall in his privy so that the filth ran into the plaintiff’s cellar. . .
CitedSt Helen’s Smelting Co v Tipping HL 1865
The defendant built a factory, from which the escaping chemical fumes damaged local trees.
Held: The defendant was liable even though the smelting was an ordinary business carried on properly, and even though the district surrounding was . .
FollowedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedWildtree Hotels Ltd and others v Harrow London Borough Council HL 22-Jun-2000
The compensation which was payable for disturbance, when works were carried out on land acquired compulsorily, did not extend to the damage caused by noise dust and vibration arising from the works. Where however damage could be brought within the . .
CitedHammersmith and City Railway Co v Brand HL 13-Jul-1869
In the absence of negligence, damage caused by operations authorised by statute is not compensatable unless the statute expressly so provides. The wording of the sections, and in particular section 6 of the Railways etc Act, only entitled a claimant . .
CitedGeddis v Proprietors of Bann Reservoir HL 18-Feb-1878
The owner of land injured by operations authorised by statute ‘suffers a private loss for the public benefit’, and in the absence of clear statutory authority is unable to claim: ‘It is now thoroughly well established that no action will lie for . .
CitedDunne v North Western Gas Board CA 1964
Works carried out by virtue of a statutory authority are a recognised exemption to liability under the rule in Rylands -v- Fletcher. The defendant’s liability in Rylands: ‘could simply have been placed on the defendants’ failure of duty to take . .
CitedGreen v Chelsea Waterworks Co 1894
A water main belonging to a waterworks company, which had been authorized by Parliament to lay the main, burst. There had been no negligence on the part of the waterworks company. The claimants’ premises were flooded but the waterworks company was . .
CitedEmpress Car Company (Abertillery) Ltd v National Rivers Authority HL 22-Jan-1998
A diesel tank was in a yard which drained into a river. It was surrounded by a bund to contain spillage, but that protection was over ridden by an extension pipe from the tank to a drum outside the bund. Someone opened a tap on that pipe so that . .
DisapprovedHale v Jennings Bros 1938
The owner of the fairground was held to be responsible for a chair-o-plane which became detached from the roundabout, because the act of the man ‘fooling about on this device’ was: ‘just the kind of behaviour which ought to have been anticipated as . .
CitedNichols v Marsland CA 1876
Flood following heavy rain was not negligent
The defendant was the owner of a series of artificial ornamental lakes, which had existed for a great number of years, and had never previous to 18th June, 1872 caused any damage. On that day, however, after a most unusual fall of rain, the lakes . .
CitedDale v Hall 1750
Damage done by rats is not normally an act of God. . .
CitedNugent v Smith CA 29-May-1876
A mare carried in the hold of the ship, died as a result of a combination of more than usually bad weather and the fright of the animal herself which caused her to struggle and injure herself.
The defendant, a common carrier by sea from London . .
CitedBamford v Turnley 2-Jul-1862
The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment . .
CitedOverseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Miller Steamship Co Pty (The Wagon Mound) (No 2) PC 25-May-1966
(New South Wales) When considering the need to take steps to avoid injury, the court looked to the nature of defendant’s activity. There was no social value or cost saving in this defendant’s activity. ‘In the present case there was no justification . .
CitedCharing Cross Electricity Supply Co v Hydraulic Power Co 1914
A high pressure water main laid under a city street could constitute something dangerous brought onto the defendant’s land and which involved a risk of damaging the plaintiffs’ property. . .
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedAndreae v Selfridge and Co Ltd CA 1938
The plaintiff had a hotel. The rest of the island had been acquired by the defendant which was demolishing and rebuilding the other properties. The plaintiff complained, and the judge found, that by reason of the operations, which involved noise and . .
AppliedRead v J Lyons and Co Ltd HL 1946
The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had . .
CitedLonghurst v Metropolitan Water Board HL 1948
Water had leaked from a main and disturbed paving stones in the highway. The water board had had no knowledge of or reason to suspect any danger to the public at the place in question.
Held: Affirming the Court of Appeal, since the board was . .
CitedAllen v Gulf Oil Refining Ltd HL 29-Jan-1980
An express statutory authority to construct an oil refinery carried with it the authority to refine. It was impossible to construct and operate the refinery upon the site without creating a nuisance. Lord Wilberforce said: ‘It is now well settled . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedJob Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors CA 1924
Land next to the canal was used for the deposit of refuse by trespassers. The mound spread until, for a fee, it was dumped also across the canal. It caught fire, and the fire spread toward the canal. By agreement the parties got together to put out . .
CitedHolbeck Hall Hotel Ltd and Another v Scarborough Borough Council CA 22-Feb-2000
Land owned by the defendant was below a cliff, at the top of which was the claimant’s hotel. The land slipped, and the hotel collapsed. Some landslip was foreseen from natural causes, but not to the extent of this occasion.
Held: The owner of . .
CitedRapier v London Tramways Co CA 16-May-1893
The defendants were a Tramway company who were empowered by their Act to lay down and construct two lines of Tramway according to deposited plans, together with the works and conveniences connected therewith. The Act gave no compulsory powers for . .
CitedMusgrove v Pandelis CA 2-Jan-1919
The plaintiff ((M) rented first floor rooms above the defendant’s garage. The defendant’s employee spilt petrol which was lit, and negligently failed to control it causing a fire, damaging the plaintiff’s rooms.
Held: The Act did not provide a . .
CitedMerlin v British Nuclear Fuels plc 1990
The plaintiffs claimed that their house had been damaged by radioactive material that had been discharged into the Irish Sea from Sellafield which had subsequently become deposited in their house as dust.
Held: The l965 Act required them to . .
CitedBlue Circle Industries Plc v Ministry of Defence CA 16-Jun-1998
Contamination of land by the overflow of radioactive materials from a pond, led to damages for the cost of repair, and also the permanent diminution of the value in the land from physical damage.
Held: The Court dismissed the appeal of the . .
CitedBond v Nottingham Corporation CA 1940
Sir Wilfred Greene MR said: ‘The nature of the right of support is not open to dispute. The owner of the servient tenement is under no obligation to repair that part of his building which provides support for his neighbour. He can let it fall into . .
CitedBradburn v Lindsay 1983
The plaintiffs sued the owner of the adjoining house which had deteriorated so badly it had had to be demolished. The party wall was left standing but was largely unsupported.
Held: The defendant knew of the perilous state of her property (a . .
Appeal fromTransco plc and Another v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council CA 1-Mar-2001
A water pipe serving housing passed through an embankment. The pipe broke, and the escaping water led to the collapse of the bank to the expense of the applicants.
Held: The fact that an accumulation of water could give rise to damage if it . .

Cited by:
CitedArscott and others v Coal Authority and Another CA 13-Jul-2004
The defendant had deposited coal wastes. When the river Taff flooded, the spoil heaps diverted the floods to damage the claimants’ homes. They appealed refusal of their claims in nuisance. The judge applied the common enemy rule: ‘an owner or . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 December 2021; Ref: scu.187998

British Railways Board v Herrington: HL 16 Feb 1972

Land-owner’s Possible Duty to Trespassers

The plaintiff, a child had gone through a fence onto the railway line, and been badly injured. The Board knew of the broken fence, but argued that they owed no duty to a trespasser.
Held: Whilst a land-owner owes no general duty of care to a trespasser, the creation by him of particular risks which may be unknown to sections of the public, including children, might create such a liability. The test may be subjective, as to whether a land-owner of this character might reasonably be expected to do or refrain from doing something on his land to avoid the risk. A duty might arise where the owner had, or ought to have had, actual knowledge of trespassers using the land, and of the risk they might face, and the risk was such as might cause a person with ordinary humane feelings to seek to avoid it. The duty does not extend beyond taking reasonable steps to enable a trespasser to avoid the danger.
Lord Diplock said that the court may draw adverse inferences from a defendant’s decision not to give or call evidence as to matters within the knowledge of himself or his employees: ‘This is a legitimate tactical move under our adversarial system of litigation. But a defendant who adopts it cannot complain if the court draws from the facts which have been disclosed all reasonable inferences as to what are the facts which the defendant has chosen to withhold.’
As to the liability of a railway undertaking for injury suffered by trespassers on the line, Lord Diplock said: ‘The appellants, who are a public corporation, elected to call no witnesses, thus depriving the court of any positive evidence as to whether the condition of the fence and the adjacent terrain had been noticed by any particular servant of theirs or as to what he or any other of their servants either thought or did about it. This is a legitimate tactical move under our adversarial system of litigation. But a defendant who adopts it cannot complain if the court draws from the facts which have been disclosed all reasonable inferences as to what are the facts which the defendant has chosen to withhold. A court may take judicial notice that railway lines are regularly patrolled by linesmen and Bangers. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is entitled to infer that one or more of them in the course of several weeks noticed what was plain for all to see. Anyone of common sense would realise the danger that the state of the fence so close to the live rail created for little children coming to the meadow to play. As the appellants elected to call none of the persons who patrolled the line there is nothing to rebut the inference that they did not lack the common sense to realise the danger. A court is accordingly entitled to infer from the inaction of the appellants that one or more of their employees decided to allow the risk to continue of some child crossing the boundary and being injured or killed by the live rail rather than to incur the trivial trouble and expense of repairing the gap in the fence.’

Lord Reid, Lord Morris of Borth-y-Gest, Lord Wilberforce, Lord Pearson and Lord Diplock
[1972] AC 877, [1972] 2 WLR 537, [1971] 1 All ER 749, [1972] UKHL 1
lip, Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
LimitedAddie (Robert) and Sons (Collieries) Ltd v Dumbreck HL 25-Feb-1929
No occupier is under any duty to potential trespassers, whether adults or children, to do anything to protect them from danger on his land, however likely it may be that they will come and run into danger and however lethal the danger may be. . .
CitedAdams v Naylor HL 1946
The House disapproved of the practice of appointing a nominee defendant in tort actions against whom damages could be awarded as opposed to a party with crown immunity. The House refused to entertain a claim against a nominated army officer arising . .
CitedBaker v Bethnal Green Corporation CA 1945
The plaintiff sought damages after a relative died in the stairwell of an underground tube station taken over by the defendant for use as an air raid shelter. The steps down to the station were known to be unsafe, being wide without protective . .
CitedBillings (AC) and Sons Ltd v Riden HL 1957
A building contractor may assume a duty of care to a visitor, though the contractor was not viewed as the occupier, the occupier being separately liable to the injured plaintiff. However, ‘if the Plaintiff knew the danger, either because he was . .
CitedBird v Holbrook CCP 9-May-1828
Whether a trespasser who was injured could recover or not depends at common law upon whether notice had been given him of the presence of those dangers on the defendant’s land. Burrough J said: ‘The Plaintiff was only a trespasser: if the Defendant . .
CitedBlyth v Birmingham Waterworks Co 1856
. .
CitedBourhill v Young’s Executor HL 5-Aug-1942
When considering claims for damages for shock, the court only recognised the action lying where the injury by shock was sustained ‘through the medium of the eye or the ear without direct contact.’ Wright L said: ‘No doubt, it has long ago been . .
CitedBuckland v Guildford Gas Light and Coke Co 1948
Whether someone is a trespasser vis-a-vis the occupier is relevant only to the foreseeability of his presence. . .
CitedCarmarthenshire County Council v Lewis HL 17-Feb-1955
The House considered the unexplained fact that in the temporary absence of the teacher (who, on the evidence, was not negligent) it was possible for a child of four to wander from the school premises onto the highway, through a gate which was either . .
CitedCommissioner for Railways v McDermott PC 1966
. .
CitedCommissioner for Railways v Quinlan PC 9-Mar-1964
(New South Wales) The plaintiff trespasser was hit by the occupier’s train. He succeeded at trial and on first appeal.
Held: A mere failure to exercise reasonable care was not a basis for claim by a trespasser, there must: ‘be injury due to . .
CitedCommissioner for Railways (NSW ) v Cardy 1960
. .
CitedCooke v Midland Great Western Railway of Ireland HL 1909
Lord Atkinson said: ‘The duty the owner of premises owes to the persons to whom he gives permission to enter upon them must . . be measured, by his knowledge, actual or imputed, of the habits, capacities and propensities of those persons.’ and ‘The . .
CitedCreed v McGeoch and Sons Ltd 1955
The question of who is an occupier will depend on the particular facts of each case and especially upon the nature and extent of the occupation or control in fact enjoyed or exercised by the defendant over the premises. The defendant contractor was . .
CitedDavis v St Mary’s Demolition and Excavation Co Ltd 1954
The defendants were demolishing some houses, behind which was an open space on which children were known to play. A child wandered onto the site and a wall fell causing injury.
Held: Although the plaintiff was a trespasser, the presence of . .
CitedDeane v Clayton 1817
. .
CitedDonoghue (or M’Alister) v Stevenson HL 26-May-1932
Decomposed Snail in Ginger Beer Bottle – Liability
The appellant drank from a bottle of ginger beer manufactured by the defendant. She suffered injury when she found a half decomposed snail in the liquid. The glass was opaque and the snail could not be seen. The drink had been bought for her by a . .
CitedDorset Yacht Co Ltd v Home Office HL 6-May-1970
A yacht was damaged by boys who had escaped from the supervision of prison officers in a nearby Borstal institution. The boat owners sued the Home Office alleging negligence by the prison officers.
Held: Any duty of a borstal officer to use . .
CitedDunster v Abbott CA 1953
The court discussed the distinction between the liability of an occupier for the dangerous condition of his premises and the liability of an occupier in relation to dangerous activities carried out on his premises. Denning LJ said: ‘In this case . . . .
CitedEdwards v Railway Executive HL 1952
A boy aged 9 was injured on a railway line. He had been warned not to go onto the land and had found his way through a defective fence. He claimed in negligence. The fence had been breached by children with some frequency for many years before the . .
CitedExcelsior Wire Rope Co Ltd v Callan HL 1930
The House dismissed an appeal by an occupier of land against a finding that he was liable for an injury occasioned to a child trespassing on his land. . .
CitedGautret v Egerton 1867
A man fell to his death when crossing a bridge used with the consent and permission of the defendants by persons proceeding to and coming from the defendants’ docks.
Held: The claim by his widow against the bridge owner was dismissed.
CitedGlasgow Corporation v Taylor HL 18-Nov-1921
A father brought an action for damages for the death of his son who had eaten poisonous berries growing in one of the defenders’ public parks. The plants were easily accessible from a children’s play area and it was said that the defender had a duty . .
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedGrand Trunk Railway Co of Canada v Barnett PC 28-Mar-1911
In an action against the appellant railroad company for damages for personal injuries resulting from collision caused by the negligence of the appellants’ servants it appeared that the collision took place on the property of the appellants to which . .
CitedHaley v London Electricity Board HL 28-Jul-1964
Electricity undertakers owed a duty of care to blind persons as a class when they excavated a trench along a pavement in a London suburb because blind people foreseeably walk along pavements. . .
CitedHardy v Central London Railway Co CA 1920
. .
CitedHawkins v Coulsdon and Purley Urban District Council CA 1954
Denning LJ suggested that there was a confluence between the laws applying to invitees and the laws applying to licensees.
Somervell LJ said: ‘reasonable foresight could not depend on ‘attributes which properly belong to a person of . .
CitedHeaven v Pender, Trading As West India Graving Dock Company CA 30-Jul-1883
Duty Arising to Use Ordinary Care and Skill
The plaintiff was a painter. His employer engaged to repaint a ship, and the defendant erected staging to support the work. The staging collapsed because one of the ropes was singed and weakened, injuring the plaintiff.
Held: The defendant had . .
CitedHillen and Pettigrew v ICI (Alkali) Ltd HL 1936
Stevedores who were lawfully on a barge for the purpose of discharging it, nevertheless became trespassers when they went onto an inadequately supported hatch cover in order to unload some of the cargo. They knew that they ought not to use the . .
CitedHolland v Lanarkshire Middle Ward District Committee 1909
Duty to fence a quarry. On a failure the land owner may be liable in damages. It was doubtful that a child would be liable in contributory negligence. . .
CitedIlott v Wilkes 1820
. .
CitedIndermaur v Dames 1866
The court described as an occupier’s duty towards his invitees: ‘And, with respect to such a visitor at least, we consider it settled law, that he, using reasonable care on his part for his own safety, is entitled to expect that the occupier shall . .
CitedJay v Whitfield (Note) 1817
Liability for injury in trap. . .
CitedKingzett v British Railways Board 1968
. .
CitedLatham v R Johnson and Nephew Ltd CA 12-Dec-1912
The defendants were owners of a plot of unfenced waste land from which old houses had been cleared. It did not adjoin any public highway, but was accessible by a path leading from the back of the house in which the plaintiff, a child between two and . .
CitedLowery v Walker HL 9-Nov-1910
A trespasser was injured by the land owner’s savage horse.
Held: If a land-owner knows of but does nothing to stop acts of trespass by the public on his land, there may be an implied license. Decision reversed. In Scottish courts the . .
CitedLynch v Nurdin 1841
The defendant’s servant left his cart and horse on a street where children were playing. A child climbed on the wheel of the cart, other children disturbed the horse, and the child was injured.
Held: The judge had correctly left it to the jury . .
CitedMcCarthy v Wellington City 1966
A person storing dangerous explosives on his premises owed a duty of care to keep them secure to all persons foreseeably likely to be injured as a result of a breach of that duty. . .
CitedM’Glone v British Railways Board HL 27-Oct-1965
The appellant sought damages in respect of injuries suffered by his son who received a severe electrical shock, climbing on a booster transformer on premises occupied by the respondents. The First Division had held that the respondents were not . .
CitedMiller v South of Scotland Electricity Board HL 1958
An employer should recognise that it is not possible to predict all the ways in which dangers may arise, especially where the risk is created by carelessness. The employer is liable even if he did not foresee the precise accident that happened. In . .
CitedMooney v Lanarkshire County Council 1954
. .
CitedMorran v Waddell SCS 24-Oct-1883
Inner House First Division. – Reparation – Culpa – Railway – Private Line of Railway – Obligation to Fence – Contributory Negligence. . .
CitedMoulton v Poulter CA 1930
The defendant land owner and occupier knew of the presence of the trespassing children.
Held: He was liable for injury to the trespassing child by a tree was felled negligently. The defendant had: ‘cut the last root by which the tree was . .
CitedMunnings v Hydro-Electric Commission 1971
. .
CitedPerry v Thomas Wrigley Ltd 1955
A trench dug in a road for its repair did not count as an allurement for passing children. . .
CitedPrentice v Assets Co Ltd 1889
. .
CitedRich v Commissioner for Railways (NSW) 1959
The Board considered a claim arising from an accident occurring at a railway level crossing . .
CitedRoss v Keith 1888
. .
CitedThompson v Bankstown Municipal Corporation 1953
(Australia) Occupier’s duty of care to a person to whom he already has a neighbour relationship. . .
CitedUnited Zinc and Chemical Co v Britt 1922
There was no evidence of children being in the habit of going near the poisoned pool at issue. Speaking of trespassers, Holmes J said ‘the owner of the land would have owed no duty to remove even hidden danger; it would have been entitled to assume . .
CitedVidean -v British Transport Commission CA 1963
The court was asked as to the duty of a land owner to a trespasser.
Held: At least in respect of his own activities an occupier owed the trespasser duty to take care not to injure a trespasser whose presence was foreseeable or reasonably to be . .
CitedMunnings v Hydro-Electric Commission 1971
. .
Appeal fromBritish Railways Board v Herrington CA 1971
A duty to protect against obvious risks or self-inflicted harm exists only in cases in which there is no genuine and informed choice, such as the inability of children to recognise danger. . .

Cited by:
CitedTomlinson v Congleton Borough Council and others HL 31-Jul-2003
The claimant dived into a lake, severely injuring himself. The council appealed liability, arguing that it owed him no duty of care under the Act since he was a trespasser. It had placed warning signs to deter swimmers.
Held: The council’s . .
CitedRegina v Stephenson CACD 1979
The defendant sought to sleep in a hollow in a haystack. He lit a fire, to keep warm, which set fire to the stack. He appealed against his conviction under the 1971 Act. He had a long history of schizophrenia and may not have had the same ability to . .
CitedRegina v City of Sunderland ex parte Beresford HL 13-Nov-2003
Land had been used as a park for many years. The council land owner refused to register it as a common, saying that by maintaining the park it had indicated that the use was by consent and licence, and that prescription did not apply.
Held: . .
CitedWisniewski v Central Manchester Health Authority CA 1997
The court considered the effect of a party failing to bring evidence in support of its case, as regards the court drawing inferences: ‘(1) In certain circumstances a court may be entitled to draw adverse inferences from the absence or silence of a . .
CitedWalker v Northumberland County Council QBD 16-Nov-1994
The plaintiff was a manager within the social services department. He suffered a mental breakdown in 1986, and had four months off work. His employers had refused to provide the increased support he requested. He had returned to work, but again, did . .
CitedHampstead Heath Winter Swimming Club and Another v Corporation of London and Another Admn 26-Apr-2005
Swimmers sought to be able to swim unsupervised in an open pond. The authority which owned the pond on Hampstead Heath wished to refuse permission fearing liability for any injury.
Held: It has always been a principle of the interpretation of . .
CitedCrawford v Financial Institutions Services Ltd PC 2-Nov-2005
(Jamaica) The government had intervened in banking institutions under the control of the appellant. Subsequently orders had been made against him for compensation in respect of loans made negligently or otherwise than in accordance with good banking . .
CitedHardy v Washington Green Fine Art Publishing Company Ltd CA 9-Mar-2010
The claimant’s husband had bought a Rolf Harris picture from an art gallery, but left it with them for safe keeping. The gallery was said to have been taken over by the defendants. The painting was noticed to be missing but the claimant was not . .
CitedEarles v Barclays Bank plc Merc 8-Oct-2009
earles_barclaysQBD2009
The claimant had lost his claim against the bank, but resisted the amount of costs claimed.
Held: The trial had been of a simple factual dispute, and the bank had failed adequately to disclose electronically held material in its possession. . .
CitedPrest v Petrodel Resources Ltd and Others SC 12-Jun-2013
In the course of ancillary relief proceedings in a divorce, questions arose regarding company assets owned by the husband. The court was asked as to the power of the court to order the transfer of assets owned entirely in the company’s names. The . .
CitedHarris v Birkenhead Corporation CA 12-Nov-1975
A four year old child had fallen from a second-story window in a derelict house owned by the defendant, and suffered serious injury. The house and others had been purchased by compulsion for intended clearance. The Corporation appealed against a . .
CitedOvu v London Underground Ltd (Duty of Care) QBD 13-Oct-2021
Safety of Stairs within Undergrounds Care of duty
The Claimant sued the London Underground company because their relative Mr Ovu died after falling down stairs on a fire escape. It was late at night and he wandered on his own on a cold night, outdoors, onto the stairs. The staircase was in good . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Personal Injury, Nuisance, Children, Negligence, Evidence

Leading Case

Updated: 29 November 2021; Ref: scu.174315

Laws v Florinplace: ChD 1981

The defendants purchased a shop in a residential area and used it as a sex shop. Residents claimed in nuisance, and sought an injunction.
Held: The claim raised an arguable cause of action, and the balance of convenience lay in favour of the neighbours.

Vinelott J
[1981] 1 All ER 659, [1981] CLY 2000
England and Wales
Citing:
AppliedMetropolitan Asylum District Managers v Hill HL 7-Mar-1881
There was an allegation that the managers had been committing an actionable nuisance, alternatively that they had been negligent in and about the construction and maintenance of a hospital for small-pox patients in Hampstead. The trial judge had . .
AppliedThompson-Schwab v Costaki CA 1956
The sight of prostitutes entering and leaving the defendant’s premises was so offensive as to be actionable in nuisance by a neighbouring owner. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Updated: 28 November 2021; Ref: scu.189996

Metropolitan Asylum District Managers v Hill: HL 7 Mar 1881

There was an allegation that the managers had been committing an actionable nuisance, alternatively that they had been negligent in and about the construction and maintenance of a hospital for small-pox patients in Hampstead. The trial judge had refused to allow the plaintiffs to adduce evidence concerning two other hospitals maintained by the same managers in Stockwell and Homerton. The plaintiffs offered this evidence to show that in two recent small-pox epidemics there was more disease in the neighbourhood of those hospitals than in other similar localities which had no small-pox hospital.
Held: (Majority) Such evidence was admissible in principle, so long as its probative value was clearly identified. The test should be that the evidence was capable of establishing a reasonable presumption or inference as to the matter in dispute and that it was reasonably conclusive, not raising ‘a difficult and doubtful controversy of precisely the same kind as the jury have to determine’. Lord Blackburn and Lord O’Hagan, dissenting however, expressed anxiety about the need for strict judicial control over the evidence to be admitted at a civil trial. Lord O’Hagan rejected the evidence altogether. Lord Blackburn said: ‘I am sensible of the force of the remark that such inquiries might be pushed so far as to make a trial of such an issue by a jury impracticable, and as the laws of evidence are framed with a view to a trial at Nisi Prius, I should not like, without further argument and consideration, to say positively that such evidence might not be properly rejected on the ground that a proceeding at Nisi Prius ought to be restrained within practicable limits, though I am not prepared to decide that it might properly be so rejected, and I do not think that it is necessary to decide this point.’

Lord Watson: ‘Still, there appears to me to be an appreciable distinction between evidence having a direct relation to the principal question in dispute and evidence relating to collateral facts, which will, if established, tend to elucidate that question. It is the right of the party tendering it to have evidence of the former kind admitted, irrespective of its amount or weight, these remaining for consideration when his case is closed; but I am not prepared to hold that he has the same absolute right when he tenders evidence of facts collateral to the main issue. In order to entitle him to give such evidence, he must, in the first instance, satisfy the court that the collateral fact which he proposes to prove will, when established, be capable of affording a reasonable presumption or inference as to the matter in dispute; and I am disposed to hold that he is also bound to satisfy the court that the evidence which he is prepared to adduce will be reasonably conclusive, and will not raise a difficult and doubtful controversy of precisely the same kind as that which the jury have to determine. It appears to me that it might lead to unfortunate results if the court had not the power to reject evidence of collateral fact which does not satisfy both of the conditions which I have endeavoured to indicate. If it be the right of a litigant to offer just as much or as little testimony as he thinks fit in support of an alleged collateral fact, which would admittedly be useful if proved, then it must be his right to submit to the jury any number of issues precisely similar to that which they are empanelled to try, and to support these by proof far more unsatisfactory than the evidence bearing directly upon the leading issue.’

Lord Selborne LC, Lord Blackburn, Lord Watson
(1881) 6 App Cas 193 HL, (1882) 47 LT 29, [1881] All ER 536, [1881] UKLawRpAC 12, (1880-1881) 6 App Cas 193
Commonlii
The Metropolitan Poor Act 1867
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedIn Re Smith Kline and French Laboratories Ltd HL 9-Feb-1989
The plaintiffs had applied for a product licence for a patented drug. To support its application, it supplied the authority with confidential information which the authority now sought to make use of the confidential information when considering . .
CitedO’Brien v Chief Constable of the South Wales Police CA 23-Jul-2003
The claimant sought damages for malicious prosecution, and sought to adduce similar fact evidence. The defendant appealed an order admitting the evidence.
Held: Comparisons between admission of similar fact evidence in civil and criminal . .
AppliedLaws v Florinplace ChD 1981
The defendants purchased a shop in a residential area and used it as a sex shop. Residents claimed in nuisance, and sought an injunction.
Held: The claim raised an arguable cause of action, and the balance of convenience lay in favour of the . .
CitedO’Brien v Chief Constable of South Wales Police HL 28-Apr-2005
The claimant sought damages against the police, and wanted to bring in evidence of previous misconduct by the officers on a similar fact basis. They had been imprisoned and held for several years based upon admissions which they said they had . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Evidence, Nuisance

Updated: 28 November 2021; Ref: scu.182806

O’Neill and Others v Tomlinson: QBNI 3 Jul 2013

Appeal from the decision of Deputy County Court Judge Gilpin on 25 March 2013 when he awarded andpound;7,500 in respect of general damages to the plaintiffs arising from an escape of oil from the defendants’ property onto the plaintiffs’ property.

[2013] NIQB 97
Bailii

Northern Ireland, Negligence, Nuisance

Updated: 26 November 2021; Ref: scu.518546

LE Jones (Insurance Brokers) Ltd v Portsmouth City Council: CA 7 Nov 2002

The Council appealed against a finding that it was liable for damage to the claimant’s property caused by the roots of trees on the highway maintained by the appellant. The Council asked whether it was the correct defendant having acted as agent for the County Council, whether proper opportunity had been given to abate the nuisance, and whether the underpinning works had been necessary.

Aldous, Dyson LJJ
[2002] EWCA Civ 1723, [2003] BLR 67, (2002) 87 Con LR 169, [2003] 15 EG 139, [2003] 1 EGLR 99, [2002] 47 EG 146, [2003] 1 WLR 427
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSolloway v Hampshire County Council CA 1981
Tree root damage had occurred following two successive very hot and dry summers in 1975 and 1976, in an area where the subsoil was almost all gravel but where, as it happened, under the plaintiff’s house there were pockets of clay. An issue arose as . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Negligence, Nuisance

Updated: 19 November 2021; Ref: scu.515016

Job Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors: CA 1924

Land next to the canal was used for the deposit of refuse by trespassers. The mound spread until, for a fee, it was dumped also across the canal. It caught fire, and the fire spread toward the canal. By agreement the parties got together to put out the fire, and now sought to allocate the costs. Mr Vachell QC, for the canal company argued that: ‘No doubt a person on whose estate any fire shall accidentally begin is exempted from liability by s. 86 of the Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act, 1774, for damage caused by that fire; and it may be admitted that a fire accidentally began upon land belonging to the respondents. But the fire which caused or threatened to cause damage to the appellants’ property was not the fire which accidentally began on the respondents’ land, when it might have been extinguished quickly and easily, but the fire which was from May to October, 1920, allowed to increase and become formidable: Musgrove v. Pandelis.’
Held: The mine-owners were not liable to the canal owners. There was no public nuisance, and no evidence that they had either caused or contributed to the fire. Scrutton LJ dissenting, said that that there was no justification for the distinction between public and private nuisance.
Bankes LJ considered the distinction between a public nuisance (which he said a land owner had a duty to abate) and a private nuisance (which he said gave rise to no such duty). As to the custom relating to fire: ‘The case of fire has always been looked upon in our law as a somewhat exceptional case. It was no doubt the ancient law or custom of England that a person in whose house a fire originated which afterwards spread to his neighbour’s property and destroyed it must make good the loss, but I do not consider that rule as opposed to the view I am putting forward in regard to liability for injury done by a private nuisance, as the ancient law no doubt considered a fire as a public nuisance owing to the danger of its spreading. The view of the law which I am taking does not touch a case where the private nuisance has been caused, or allowed to continue, by any act or default on the part of the occupier of the land on which it exists.’
As to the defence under section 86. As to that he said: ‘Mr Vachell contended that whatever may have been the cause of the original fire it ceased to be an accidental fire within the meaning of the statute when the plaintiffs were informed of it, and that within the reasoning of the decision in Musgrove v Pandelis the fire as from that date must be treated as a second and independent fire. I cannot draw any such inference from the facts of the present case. In Musgrove v Pandelis Lush J drew from the facts the inference that there were in substance either two fires, the first an accidental one which did no damage, and the second which was due to negligence and did the damage; or alternatively that there was only one fire within the meaning of the statute, and that was the one due to negligence. This Court agreed with the view of the learned judge, but the facts of that case are very special, and have in my opinion no bearing upon the case we are now dealing with.’
Scrutton LJ dissented. He discussed the duty at common law: ‘There is a great deal to be said for the view that if a man finds a dangerous and artificial thing on his land, which he and those for whom he is responsible did not put there; if he knows that if left alone it will damage other persons; if by reasonable care he can render it harmless, as if by stamping on a fire just beginning from a trespasser’s match he can extinguish it; that then if he does nothing, he has ‘permitted it to continue,’ and become responsible for it. This would base the liability on negligence, and not on the duty of insuring damage from a dangerous thing under Rylands v Fletcher. I appreciate that to get negligence you must have a duty to be careful, but I think on principle that a landowner has a duty to take reasonable care not to allow his land to remain a receptacle for a thing which may, if not rendered harmless, cause damage to his neighbours.’
As to section 86, he said: ‘That statute (14 Geo. 3, c. 78, s. 86) provides that no action shall lie against any person in whose house or on whose estate ‘any fire shall accidentally begin.’ This fire undoubtedly began accidentally so far as the landowner and his agents were concerned. It has been decided that the statutory restriction of the previous common law liability does not exclude liability for fires caused by negligence of the owner or persons for whom he is responsible, or by dangerous things for which the owner is responsible under the doctrine of Rylands v Fletcher. This leaves the difficult question – suppose the fire is caused by a trespasser, as if he throws down a match; and suppose the owner comes by immediately afterwards, sees the small fire, and could with no trouble extinguish it by stamping on it, but does not do so, so that the fire spreads and damages his neighbour, is he freed by the statute? He is then aware of a dangerous thing on his land which may damage his neighbour, and which by reasonable care he can prevent from damaging his neighbour, and he does nothing. I agree he is not an absolute insurer of that dangerous thing, for he did not himself create it, but I think on principle he is bound to take reasonable care of a dangerous thing which he knows to exist. Take the case of an ordinary house fire, where a coal leaps from the grate. If no one knows of the fire caused by the coal till it cannot be stopped, that fire may be within the protection of the statute, though Duke LJ doubted it in Musgrove v Pandelis. But suppose the owner sees it jump out, could extinguish it with a moment’s trouble, and does not trouble to do so, could he plead the statute to protect him? In Musgrove v Pandelis, where the real danger arose from the fact that the defendant’s servant negligently did not turn a tap to stop a supply of petrol to a fire, the Court treated the fire as two fires; I should respectfully have thought that it was safer to say that the fire was continued by negligence, and that the cause of action was not for a fire accidentally begun, but for negligence in increasing such a fire.’

Bankes LJ, Astbury J, Scrutton LJ
[1924] 1 KB 341, [1924] 93 LJKB 261, [1924] 68 Sol Jo 501
Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act 1774 86
Citing:
Appeal fromJob Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors 1923
Rubbish was tipped on land belonging to a canal company and on adjoining land belonging to mine owners. The rubbish on the mine owners’ land was found to be on fire, and the canal company feared that the fire might spread to their own land. Having . .
CitedMusgrove v Pandelis CA 2-Jan-1919
The plaintiff ((M) rented first floor rooms above the defendant’s garage. The defendant’s employee spilt petrol which was lit, and negligently failed to control it causing a fire, damaging the plaintiff’s rooms.
Held: The Act did not provide a . .

Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
Dissenting judgment ApprovedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Updated: 19 November 2021; Ref: scu.188041

British Celanese Ltd v A H Hunt (Capacitors) Ltd: QBD 1969

Metal foil had been blown from the defendant’s factory premises on to an electricity sub-station, which in turn brought the plaintiff’s machines to a halt.
Held: The meaning Lawton J would give to the phrase ‘direct victim’ was a person whose ‘property was injured by the operation of the laws of nature without any human intervention’.

Lawton J
[1969] 2 All ER 1252, [1969] 1 WLR 959
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedMcKenna and Others v British Aluminum Ltd ChD 16-Jan-2002
Claimants began an action in nuisance and Rylands v Fletcher against the respondents. They sought to strike out the claim on the basis that some of the claimants did not have a sufficient interest in the land affected. The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedD Pride and Partners (A Firm) and Others v Institute for Animal Health and Others QBD 31-Mar-2009
The claimants sought damages after the loss of business when the defendants’ premises were the source of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The organism had escaped from their premises via a broken drain.
Held: Much of the damage claimed . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Updated: 19 November 2021; Ref: scu.181096

Hall v Beckenham Corporation: 1949

A claim was made in nuisance against the local authority, the owner of a public park, in which members of the public flew noisy model aircraft.
Held: The local authority were not liable as the occupiers of the park for an alleged nuisance that was being committed in the park. Finnemore J discussed the purpose of a public walks or pleasure grounds under the 1875 Act, saying: ‘So far as a local authority are concerned, if land is bought under s. 164 of the Act of 1875 for that purpose it is dedicated to the use of the public for the purpose of a park.’

Finnemore J rejected the plaintiff’s submission that even if it was not the occupier, the authority was liable because it had the management and control of the park: ‘So long as a member of the public behaves himself in the ordinary way, committing no criminal offence and observing the by-laws, the corporation cannot stop his doing what he likes in this recreation ground . . I think that the corporation are the trustees and guardians of the park, and that they are bound to admit to it any citizen who wishes to enter it within the times when it is open. I do not think that they can interfere with any person in the park unless he breaks the general law or one of their by-laws. They cannot put themselves in the position of judges of whether a person may be causing a nuisance to someone outside the park. Their proper attitude to such a complaint is to say that the complainer must take action against the person who is said to be committing the nuisance.’

Finnemore J
[1949 ] 1 KB 716
Public Health Act 1875
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRegina v City of Sunderland ex parte Beresford HL 13-Nov-2003
Land had been used as a park for many years. The council land owner refused to register it as a common, saying that by maintaining the park it had indicated that the use was by consent and licence, and that prescription did not apply.
Held: . .
CitedBarkas v North Yorkshire County Council CA 23-Oct-2012
The court was asked: ‘When local inhabitants indulge in lawful sports and pastimes on a recreation ground which has been provided for that purpose by a local authority in the exercise of its statutory powers, do they do so ‘by right’ or ‘as of . .
CitedBarkas, Regina (on The Application of ) v North Yorkshire County Council and Another SC 6-Mar-2014
The Court was asked as to the registration of a playing field as a ‘town or village green’. Local residents asserted that their use of the land, having been ‘as of right’ required the registration. They now appealed against rejection of that . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Land, Local Government

Updated: 17 November 2021; Ref: scu.187797

Merthyr Tydfil Car Auction Ltd v Thomas and Another: CA 11 Jul 2013

The company appealed against an award of 9,000 pounds for nuisance in the form of excessive noise and fumes.
Held: The appeal failed: ‘the grant of planning permission cannot authorise the commission of a nuisance but it may, following its implementation, change the character of the locality. If the character of a locality is changed as a result, the question whether activities constitute a nuisance must be decided against the background of its changed character. ‘

Richards, Davis, Lloyd Jones LJJ
[2013] EWCA Civ 815
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSturges v Bridgman CA 1879
The character of the neighbourhood in which the plaintiff lives should, for the law of nuisance, include established features: ‘whether anything is a nuisance or not is a question to be determined, not merely by an abstract consideration of the . .
CitedLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others QBD 4-Mar-2011
The claimants had complained that motor-cycle and other racing activities on neighbouring lands were a noise nuisance, but the court also considered that agents of the defendants had sought to intimidate the claimants into not pursuing their action. . .
CitedBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd CA 19-Mar-2012
The claimants appealed against rejection of their claims for nuisance in the form of smells emanating from the respondent neighbour’s waste processing plant. The defendant relied upon the grant of planning permission.
Held: The cause of action . .
CitedLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others CA 2012
Jackson LJ set out the way in which planning consents would affect whether actions amounted to a nuisance: ‘I would summarise the law which is relevant to the first ground of appeal in four propositions. (i) A planning authority by the grant of . .
CitedBurnett v Lynch CA 21-Mar-2012
The GP doctor appealed against a finding that she had a duty of care to the respondent in her claim for professional neglience in failing to diagnose breast cancer.
Held: The appeal failed. There is a distinction between a truthful witness and . .
Appeal fromThomas and Another v Merthyr Tydfil Car Auction Ltd QBD 8-Oct-2012
The claimant complained of nuisance from adjoining car auctions works belonging to the defendants. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Updated: 15 November 2021; Ref: scu.512315

Robbins v London Borough of Bexley: CA 17 Oct 2013

The claimant said that his house had been damaged by tree roots for which the appellant was responsible. The trees were 33 metres from the house.
Held: The appeal failed. The immediate cause of the damage was a failure to do something which the council had not been obliged to do. This was a Bolitho type case, and the judge was to ask what would have happened if the Council had done something rather than nothing. However: ‘the judge was justified on the facts, and as a matter of the proper application of the rules of causation, in asking what the Council would in fact have done, had it taken reasonable steps to prevent the damage. The Council’s error is in assuming that the judge found the content of its duty was simply to undertake a particular 25% cyclical pruning regime, and that its breach was its failure to undertake such a regime. That is not, in my judgment, how the judge’s judgment is properly to be understood.’ The judge was perfectly justified in inferring that, if the canopy reduction works had taken place from 1998 onwards, they would, on a balance of probability, have been undertaken more severely than the later works orders envisaged.

Moore-Bick, Aikens, Vos LJJ
[2013] EWHC 1233 (Civ)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedSolloway v Hampshire County Council CA 1981
Tree root damage had occurred following two successive very hot and dry summers in 1975 and 1976, in an area where the subsoil was almost all gravel but where, as it happened, under the plaintiff’s house there were pockets of clay. An issue arose as . .
CitedBolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority HL 24-Jul-1997
The plaintiff suffered catastrophic brain damage as a result of cardiac arrest induced by respiratory failure as a child whilst at the defendant hospital. A doctor was summoned but failed to attend, and the child suffered cardiac arrest and brain . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedJoyce v Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth Health Authority CA 1996
Hobhouse LJ said: ‘Thus, a plaintiff can discharge the burden of proof on causation by satisfying the court either that the relevant person would in fact have taken the requisite action (although she would not have been at fault if she had not) or . .
CitedBeary v Pall Mall Investments (A Firm) CA 19-Apr-2005
The independent financial advisor defendant had negligently failed to advise the claimant client about the possibility of taking out an annuity. However, the claimant would not have done so, unless he had been positively advised that he should. The . .
Appeal fromRobbins v London Borough of Bexley TCC 16-Aug-2012
The claimant sought damages saying that her house had been damaged by subsidence after dessication of the soil by trees under the defendant’s control.
Held: The defendants were liable. . .
CitedBerent v Family Mosaic Housing and Another CA 13-Jul-2012
The claimant sought damages saying that her house had been damaged by the roots of plane trees on neighbouring land for which the defendants were responsible. . .
CitedPhethean-Hubble v Coles CA 21-Mar-2012
The claimant cyclist suffered serious injury in a collision with a car driven by the defendant. The defendant appealed against a finding that he was two thirds responsible. The case for the injured cyclist was that the motorist was going too fast. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Damages, Negligence

Updated: 12 November 2021; Ref: scu.516539

Griffiths v Liverpool Corporation: CA 1967

The Highways Act of 1961 had enlarged the duty of the highway authority and made it a general duty to take reasonable care to secure that the highway was not dangerous to traffic.
As to the effect of the 1961 Act, Diplock LJ said: ‘The duty at common law to maintain, which includes a duty to repair a highway, was not based in negligence but in nuisance. It was an absolute duty to maintain, not merely a duty to take reasonable care to maintain, and the statutory duty which replaced it was also absolute.’ and ‘The defendants had a statutory duty to maintain the highway and the question of reasonable care has no relevance.’
DiplocK LJ continued: ‘Subsection (2) does not, in my opinion, make proof of lack of reasonable care on the part of a highway authority a necessary element in the cause of action of a plaintiff who has been injured by a danger on a highway. What it does is to enable the highway authority to rely upon the fact that it has taken reasonable care as a defence — the onus of establishing this resting upon it. A convenient way of expressing the effect of the subsection is that it does not qualify the legal character of the duty imposed by subsection (1) but provides the highway authority with a statutory excuse for not performing it.
But however this may be there are two crucial differences between a liability in negligence and the statutory liability of a highway authority under this section. To succeed in an action for negligence the plaintiff must prove, inter alia, (1) that the defendant has been guilty of lack of reasonable care and (2) that such lack of reasonable care was the cause of the injury to him. In an action under the statute against a highway authority for injury sustained from a danger on a highway the plaintiff need prove neither of these things in order to succeed. Unless the highway authority proves that it did take reasonable care the statutory defence under subsection (2) is not available to it at all. Nor is it a defence for the highway authority to show that even had it taken all reasonable care this might not have prevented the damage which caused the injury. It may be that if the highway authority could show that no amount of reasonable care on its part could have prevented the danger the common law defence of inevitable accident would be available to it; but that is not relied on in the present case and it is not necessary for us to express a final conclusion upon it.’

Diplock LJ, Sellers LJ
[1967] 1 QB 374
Highways Act 1961 58(2)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRegina v Inhabitants of High Halden 1859
highhalden1859
The court considered the liability of the parish for injury arising from a failure to repair the road. The road was ‘an old soft road formed of Weald of Kent clay, and had never been repaired with hard substances’. The evidence was that in wet . .

Cited by:
CitedGoodes v East Sussex County Council HL 16-Jun-2000
The claimant was driving along a road. He skidded on ice, crashed and was severely injured. He claimed damages saying that the Highway authority had failed to ‘maintain’ the road.
Held: The statutory duty on a highway authority to keep a road . .
CitedJones v Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council CA 15-Jul-2008
The claimant, a fireman, sought damages for injuries suffered when he was injured answering a call out. He fell into a depressed area by the road side as he was pulling away a burning wooden pallet.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. The court . .
CitedRance v Essex County Council CA 21-Feb-1997
Appeal against refusal of claim against highway authority. The appellant was injured when her car crashed. A high volume of heavy goods vehicles had been using a local road, damaging the road and verges. Though the road was wide enough for her car . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Road Traffic

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.244696

Swaine v The Great Northern Railway Company: 25 Jan 1864

Occurrences of nuisance, if temporary and occasional only, are not grounds for the interference of the Court of Chancery by injunction, except in extreme cases. Therefore, where a railway company carried down to and deposited on a siding to their line manure which was occasionally not proper manure, and they occasionally allowed it to remain there longer than it ought to have remained : Held, in a suit by a neighbouring landowner for an injunction to restrain the nuisance and for damages:
1. That the court would not interfere by way of injunction.
2. That the Court would not enter into the question of damages, the case being one which, in the judgment ofthe Court, could be more effectually disposed of at law than in equity, and Sir Hugh Cairns’s Act (21 and 22 Vict. c. 27) only giving the Court of Chancery jurisdiction to give damages in any case where a bill is properly filed in it, while Mr. Rolt’s Act (25 and 26 Vict. c. 42) does not make it compulsory on the Court so to do.

[1864] EngR 173, (1864) 4 De G J and S 211, (1864) 46 ER 899
Commonlii

Nuisance, Equity, Litigation Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.281887

Arscott and others v Coal Authority and Another: CA 13 Jul 2004

The defendant had deposited coal wastes. When the river Taff flooded, the spoil heaps diverted the floods to damage the claimants’ homes. They appealed refusal of their claims in nuisance. The judge applied the common enemy rule: ‘an owner or occupier of land is entitled to use or develop his land so as to prevent flood waters coming on to his land. If in times of flood waters which would have entered his land in consequence damage another’s land – that does not provide a cause of action in nuisance.’ The cases established ‘a bias in favour of natural user, subject to its being no more than reasonably enjoyed; a bias (effectively a conclusive rule) against non-natural user where that involves the escape of something noxious onto a neighbour’s land; a bias against the harbouring of a danger, a hazard, on one’s own land whether the hazard is natural or man-made. And in no case will there be liability without reasonable foreseeability of damage. ‘ and ‘You are entitled to protect yourself against the common enemy’s incursions; but if the incursion upon your land has already happened or is about to happen, you may not export it to your neighbour. ‘ The defendant was not liable at common law. The claim pre-dated Human Rights law, and the common enemy rule, subject perhaps to exceptional instances, is in principle inoffensive to Article 8 and Article 1 of the First Protocol.

Laws LJ
[2004] EWCA Civ 892, [2005] Env LR6
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights P1 A1 A8
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedBamford v Turnley 2-Jul-1862
The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment . .
CitedTrafford v Rex CEC 1832
Landowners next to the Mersey had raised the banks to prevent floodwaters coming on to their land. This raised the water level threatening a canal. The landowners appealed a conviction.
Held: A guilty verdict of guilty would only be . .
CitedFarquharson v Farquharson 1741
‘It was found lawful for one to build a fence upon his own ground, by the side of a river, to prevent damage to his ground by the overflow of the river, though thereby a damage should happen to his neighbour by throwing the whole overflow in time of . .
CitedRex v The Commissioners of Sewers for the Levels of Pagham 1828
The court considered responsibility for the inroads of the sea. The Commissioners erected groynes and other works to defend the stretch of coast for which they were responsible against the sea’s encroachment. But the consequence was that the sea . .
CitedWhalley v Lancs and Yorks Railway Co 1884
After heavy rain, water accumulated against the defendants’ railway embankment, endangering it. The defendants cut trenches in it to allow the water flowed through, where it then went on to the land of the plaintiff, on the far side of the . .
CitedRex v Trafford KBD 1831
The river Mersey and an associated brook overflowed their banks in wet weather at the place in question, and the waters went north and west over adjoining lands, at length flowing back into the Mersey. The affected landowners raised banks (referred . .
CitedHurdman v North Eastern Railway Co 1878
The defendants raised their land, so that the rain collected and penetrated an adjoining wall and ran into the plaintiff’s land, causing substantial damage.
Held: The heap or mound erected on the defendants’ land had to be considered as ‘an . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .

Cited by:
CitedAnthony and others v The Coal Authority QBD 28-Jul-2005
The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd (Manchester Division) and Another QBD 17-Feb-2009
The claimant sought damages in nuisance and negligence saying that in constructing a new housing estate, they had altered the land in such a way as to lead to the repeated flooding of their home.
Held: Both the developer and the council were . .
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd and Another CA 16-Jun-2010
The claimants had bought houses from the first defendants, who in turn had bought the land from Rochdale, the second defendants. In preparing the land for construction the first defendants were said to have negligently filled in a drainage culvert . .
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd and Another CA 16-Jun-2010
The claimants had bought houses from the first defendants, who in turn had bought the land from Rochdale, the second defendants. In preparing the land for construction the first defendants were said to have negligently filled in a drainage culvert . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.199336

Watson and others v Croft Promo-Sport Ltd: CA 26 Jan 2009

The claimants were neighbours of the Croft motor racing circuit. They alleged nuisance in the levels of noise emanating from the site. The defendants denied nuisance saying that the interference was deemed reasonable since they operated within the planning permissions governing the use of the circuit. Both parties appealed against an order finding nuisance but awarding damages in lieu of an injunction.
Held: The grant of planning permission as such does not affect the private law rights of third parties. The real question was as to whether the character of the area had changed over time. That was a question of fact with which the appeal court would not interfere. Similarly the judge had adopted his measures of noise on a reasoned basis and had visited the site. The nuisance was established. The judge was wrong however not to have granted an injunction restricting the defendants to their core activities.

Sir Andrew Morritt, Chancellor of the High Court,
[2009] EWCA Civ 15, [2009] NPC 15, [2009] 18 EG 86, [2009] 3 All ER 249
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedAllen v Gulf Oil Refining Ltd CA 1980
The exercise of the permission to develop granted by the local planning authority may have the result that the character of the neighbourhood changes and that which would previously have been a nuisance must be held no longer to be so
CitedGillingham Borough Council v Medway (Chatham) Dock Co Ltd 1992
The grant of planning permission does not of itself sanction or otherwise endorse an activity which is causing a nuisance to neighbouring properties. Buckley J said: ‘If a planning authority grants permission for a particular construction or use in . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd; Same v London Docklands Development Board CA 13-Oct-1995
A release of dust over neighbouring properties can be a nuisance but not a blocking of TV reception signals. No action lay in private nuisance for interference with television caused by the mere presence of a building. ‘A substantial link between . .
CitedWheeler and Another v JJ Saunders Ltd and Others CA 19-Dec-1994
The existence of a planning permission did not excuse the causing of a nuisance by the erection of a pighouse. The permission was not a statutory authority, and particularly so where it was possible it had been procured by the supply of inaccurate . .
CitedShelfer v City of London Electric Lighting Company, Meux’s Brewery Co v Same CA 1895
The plaintiff sought damages and an injunction for nuisance by noise and vibration which was causing structural injury to a public house.
Held: The court set out the rules for when a court should not grant an injunction for an infringement of . .
CitedDennis and Dennis v Ministry of Defence QBD 16-Apr-2003
The applicants owned a substantial property near an airbase. They complained that changes in the patterns of flying by the respondents were a nuisance and sought damages. Walcot Hall was subjected to very high noise levels from military aircraft. . .
CitedJaggard v Sawyer and Another CA 18-Jul-1994
Recovery of damages after Refusal of Injunction
The plaintiff appealed against the award of damages instead of an injunction aftter the County court had found the defendant to have trespassed on his land by a new building making use of a private right of way.
Held: The appeal failed.
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 . .

Cited by:
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Planning

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.280145

Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another: CA 3 Jul 2018

Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance

The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in value which had occurred.
Held: The decision of the recorder was upheld, but for different reasons: ‘the claimants should . . be able to argue and succeed before us on the ground of an unlawful interference with their enjoyment of the amenity of their properties due to the impairment of their right to use and enjoy those properties. They have not relied upon any evidence that was not before the Recorder, and the characteristics and damaging nature of Japanese knotweed have always been at the very heart of this litigation.’

Sir Terence Etherton MR, Sharp, Leggatt LJJ
[2018] EWCA Civ 1514
Bailii
Environmental Protection Act 1990
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedBaten’s Case 1610
. .
CitedFay v Prentice And Another 1845
A declaration in case stated that the defendant, being possessed of a messuage adjoining a garden of the plaintiff, erected a cornice upon his messuage, projecting over the garden, by means whereof rain-water flowed from the cornice into the garden, . .
CitedHarrop v Hirst 1868
The inhabitants of a named district, Tamewater, in the parish of Saddleworth, claimed a right to take water from a spout in the highway The claim was for diverting water.
Held: The right was upheld. An action for diverting water is . .
CitedLemmon v Webb HL 27-Nov-1894
A land-owner was free to lop off boughs from his neighbours trees to the extent that they reached over his land, and he could lop them without going on to the neighbour’s land. He was not required to give notice of his intention to do so. . .
CitedNicholas v Ely Beet Sugar Factory Ltd CA 1936
The plaintiff owned several fisheries and sought damages after the defendant polluted the riner. He was unable to prove any actual loss.
Held: Disturbance of a several fishery was an invasion of a legal right, and in such a case the injury to . .
CitedDavey v Harrow Corporation CA 1957
The Plaintiff’s house was damaged by roots penetrating from trees on adjoining land. At first instance, Sellers J found that the damage was caused by the trees, but they were not proven to be the property of the defendants. On appeal and after . .
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedRust v Victoria Graving Dock Co and London and St Katharine Dock Co 1887
Damages in nuisance are not to be increased by any subdivision of interests. . .
CitedWest Leigh Colliery Company Limited v Tunnicliffe and Hampson Limited HL 1908
The court considered the issue of surface subsidence as a nuisance owing to the working of minerals under or adjoining his property.
Held: depreciation in the market value of the property attributable to the risk of future subsidence cannot be . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedThompson-Schwab v Costaki CA 1956
The sight of prostitutes entering and leaving the defendant’s premises was so offensive as to be actionable in nuisance by a neighbouring owner. . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedLaws v Florinplace Ltd 1981
A large shop sign was erected advertising a ‘Sex Centre and Cinema Club’, the premises of which opened a few days later. Signs were put in the shop window, one of which advertised ‘Uncensored adult videos for sale or available’ and others of which . .
CitedBlue Circle Industries Plc v Ministry of Defence CA 16-Jun-1998
Contamination of land by the overflow of radioactive materials from a pond, led to damages for the cost of repair, and also the permanent diminution of the value in the land from physical damage.
Held: The Court dismissed the appeal of the . .
CitedBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd CA 19-Mar-2012
The claimants appealed against rejection of their claims for nuisance in the form of smells emanating from the respondent neighbour’s waste processing plant. The defendant relied upon the grant of planning permission.
Held: The cause of action . .
CitedFletcher v Bealey ChD 27-Jan-1885
The court was asked to grant an injunction quia timet. Pearson J said: ‘it is not correct to say, as a strict proposition of law, that, if the plaintiff has not sustained, or cannot prove that he has sustained, substantial damage, this Court will . .
CitedLeeds Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd v Slack HL 1924
The plaintiff complained of a threatened interference with ancient lights.
Held: Damages may be awarded in lieu of an injunction even where the injunction sought is a quia timet injunction, but that power imports a further power to give an . .
CitedGraigola Merthyr Co Ltd v Swansea Corporation (No 2) 1928
The plaintiffs owned two collieries, worked as one. The defendant owned an adjacent reservoir, constructed in pursuance of a special Act, incorporating sections from the Waterworks Clauses Act 1847. Wanting to take their seams under the reservoir, . .
CitedHooper v Rogers CA 1974
When considering a request for a quia timet injunction, Russell LJ said: ‘In different cases, differing phrases have been used in describing circumstances in which mandatory injunctions and quia timet injunctions will be granted. In truth, it seems . .
CitedLloyd v Symonds, Anderson and Lucas CA 20-Mar-1998
Appeal against injunction in nuisance to stop keeping breeding kennels. The neighbour had begun keeping the kennels, and the neighbour complained to the local Environmental Health office. Abatement notices were served, and the neighbour respondent . .
CitedJan De Nul (UK) Ltd v NV Royale Belge ComC 31-Jul-2000
Contractors’ liability insurance – contract for capital dredging of main shipping channel in Southampton Water – deposit of silt outside limits of dredged channel – whether insured negligent – whether silt interfered with navigation – whether . .
CitedJan De Nul (Uk) Limited v NV Royale Belge CA 10-Oct-2001
The contractor undertook to dredge a stretch of river. Due to its failure to investigate properly, the result was the release of substantial volumes of silt into the estuary, to the damage of other river users and frontagers. The act amounted to a . .
CitedBirmingham Development Company Ltd v Tyler CA 24-Jul-2008
Appeal against dismissal of claim for injunction to abate nuisance. . .
CitedLondon Borough of Islington v Elliott and Another CA 1-Feb-2012
The appellant challenged a costs order. It owned property on which grew certain trees. A neighbour complained of the incursion of roots, and began an action. The Council, having removed the trees said that it should not have been ordered to pay the . .
CitedDryden and Others v Johnson Matthey Plc SC 21-Mar-2018
Sensitisation to salt can be personal injury
The claimants, had developed platinum salt sensitisation due to the defendant employer’s breach of health and safety regulations and common law duty, claimed a cause of action for personal injury. Platinum salt sensitisation is, in itself, an . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.618935

Shelfer v City of London Electric Lighting Company, Meux’s Brewery Co v Same: CA 1895

The plaintiff sought damages and an injunction for nuisance by noise and vibration which was causing structural injury to a public house.
Held: The court set out the rules for when a court should not grant an injunction for an infringement of light. The fact that the wrongdoer is in some sense a public benefactor has never been considered a sufficient reason to refuse an injunction against a nuisance he creates. The Act which gave the Courts of Equity a discretion to award damages in place of an injunction did not thereby alter the rules on the grant of injunctions, and where an injunction was a proper remedy, the use of the discretion was not to be used to excuse wrong doing. A party with the benefit of a restrictive covenant is, as a general rule, entitled to an injunction on the trial of the action as distinct from an award of damages unless (1) the injury to the plaintiff’s legal rights is small, (2) it is capable of being estimated in terms of money, (3) it can adequately be compensated for by a small payment and (4) it would be oppressive to the defendant to grant an injunction.
AL Smith LJ said: ‘Many judges have stated, and I emphatically agree with them, that a person by committing a wrongful act (whether it be a public company for public purposes or a private individual) is not thereby entitled to ask the court to sanction his doing so by purchasing his neighbour’s rights, by assessing damages in that behalf, leaving his neighbour with the nuisance, or his lights dimmed, as the case may be.
In such cases the well known rule is not to accede to the application, but to grant the injunction sought, for the plaintiff’s legal right has been invaded, and he is prima facie entitled to an injunction.
There are, however, cases in which this rule may be relaxed, and in which the damages may be awarded in substitution for an injunction as authorized by this section. In any instance in which a case for an injunction has been made out, if the plaintiff by his acts or laches has disentitled himself to an injunction the court may award damages in its place. So again, whether the case be for a mandatory injunction or to restrain a continuing nuisance, the appropriate remedy may be damages in lieu of an injunction, assuming a case for an injunction to be made out. In my opinion, it may be stated as a good working rule that – (1) If the injury to the plaintiff’s legal rights is small, (2) And is one which is capable of being estimated in money, (3) And is one which can be adequately compensated by a small money payment, (4) And the case is one in which it would be oppressive to the defendant to grant an injunction: – then damages in substitution for an injunction may be given.

There may also be cases in which, though the four above-mentioned requirements exist, the defendant by his conduct, as, for instance, hurrying up his buildings so as if possible to avoid an injunction, or otherwise acting with reckless disregard to the plaintiff’s rights, has disentitled himself from asking that damages may be assessed in substitution for an injunction. It is impossible to lay down any rule as to what, under the differing circumstances of each case, constitutes either a small injury, or one that can be estimated in money, or what is a small money payment, or an adequate compensation, or what would be oppressive to the defendant. This must be left to the good sense of the tribunal which deals with each case as it comes up for adjudication. For instance, an injury to the plaintiff’s legal right to light to a window in a cottage represented by andpound;15 might well be held to be not small but considerable; whereas a similar injury to a warehouse or other large building represented by ten times that amount might be held to be inconsiderable. Each case must be decided upon its own facts; but to escape the rule it must be brought within the exception. In the present case it appears to me that the injury to the plaintiff is certainly not small; nor is it in my judgment capable of being estimated in money, or of being adequately compensated by a small money payment.’
Lindley LJ said: ‘Ever since Lord Cairns’ Act was passed the Court of Chancery has repudiated the notion that the Legislature intended to turn that court into a tribunal for legalizing wrongful acts: or in other words, the Court has always protested against the notion that it ought to allow a wrong to continue simply because the wrondgoer is able and willing to pay for the injury he may inflict. Neither has the circumstance that the wrondoer is in some sense a public benefactor (eg a gas or water company or a sewer authority) ever been considered a sufficient reason for refusing to protect by injunction an individual whose rights are being persistently infringed. Expropriation, even for a money consideration, is only justifiable when Parliament has sanctioned it.’ and

‘Without denying the jurisdiction to award damages instead of an injunction, even in cases of continuing actionable nuisances, such jurisdiction ought not to be exercised in such cases except under very exceptional circumstances. I will not attempt to specify them, or to lay down rules for the exercise of judicial discretion. It is sufficient to refer, by way of example, to trivial and occasional nuisances: cases in which a plaintiff has shown that he only wants money; vexatious and oppressive cases; and cases where the plaintiff has so conducted himself as to render it unjust to give him more than pecuniary relief. In all such cases as these, and in all others where an action for damages is really an adequate remedy – as where the acts complained of are already finished – an injunction can be properly refused.’

Lindley LJ, A L Smith LJ
[1895] 1 Ch 287, [1891-4] All ER Rep 838, (1895) 64 LJ Ch 216, (1895) 72 LT 34, (1895) 12 R 112
Chancery Amendment Act 1858 (Lord Cairns’ Act)
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDennis and Dennis v Ministry of Defence QBD 16-Apr-2003
The applicants owned a substantial property near an airbase. They complained that changes in the patterns of flying by the respondents were a nuisance and sought damages. Walcot Hall was subjected to very high noise levels from military aircraft. . .
AppliedKennaway v Thompson CA 30-Apr-1980
The plaintiff’s property adjoined the defendant’s boating lake over which the defendant had, over several years, come to run more and more motor boat sports events. The trial judge had found that the noise created by the racing was an actionable . .
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 . .
CitedJaggard v Sawyer and Another CA 18-Jul-1994
Recovery of damages after Refusal of Injunction
The plaintiff appealed against the award of damages instead of an injunction aftter the County court had found the defendant to have trespassed on his land by a new building making use of a private right of way.
Held: The appeal failed.
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 . .
CitedFeakins and Another v Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Civ 1513) CA 9-Dec-2005
The department complained that the defendants had entered into a transaction with their farm at an undervalue so as to defeat its claim for recovery of sums due. The transaction used the grant of a tenancy by the first chargee.
Held: The . .
CitedSmall v Oliver and Saunders (Developments) Ltd ChD 25-May-2006
The claimant said his property had the benefit of covenants in a building scheme so as to allow him to object to the building of an additional house on a neighbouring plot in breach of a covenant to build only one house on the plot. Most but not all . .
CitedKine v Jolly CA 1905
The court refused an injunction in respect of an infringement of the right to light to a dwelling house, restricting the plaintiff to a remedy in damages. Cozens-Hardy LJ: ‘I think it is impossible to doubt that the tendency of the speeches in the . .
CitedFederated Homes Ltd v Mill Lodge Properties Ltd CA 1980
Conveyances contained restrictive covenants but they were not expressly attached to the land. The issue was whether they were merely personal.
Held: section 78 made the covenant by the purchaser binding on his successors also. The section . .
CitedTurner and Another v Pryce and others ChD 9-Jan-2008
The claimants asserted that they had the benefit of restrictive covenants under a building scheme to prevent the defendants erecting more houses in their neighbouring garden. The defendants pointed to alleged breaches of the same scheme by the . .
CitedJacklin and Another v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire CA 16-Feb-2007
The claimants asserted a vehicular right of way over land belonging to the defendant poilce authority. The defendant said that it had been abandoned. The judge found that it had not been and granted an injunction to prevent the defendants . .
CitedLudlow Music Inc v Williams and others ChD 2-Oct-2000
The claimant sought damages for copyright infringement in respect of two works which parodied a song to which they owned the rights.
Held: The amount copied, being as much as a quarter of the original work, meant that the claim was . .
CitedBanks v EMI Songs Ltd (No.2) ChD 1996
Jacob J referred to the judgment of AL Smith LJ in Shelfer, and granted an injunction, even though he was not able to say that a small sum of money would be adequate compensation. The ‘checklist’ in that judgment was not an exhaustive statement and . .
CitedWatson and others v Croft Promo-Sport Ltd CA 26-Jan-2009
The claimants were neighbours of the Croft motor racing circuit. They alleged nuisance in the levels of noise emanating from the site. The defendants denied nuisance saying that the interference was deemed reasonable since they operated within the . .
CitedFisher v Brooker and Others HL 30-Jul-2009
The claimant sought a share in the royalties from the song ‘A whiter shade of pale’ but had delayed his claim for 38 years. He had contributed the organ solo which had contributed significantly to the song’s success. He now sought a share of future . .
CitedACCO Properties Ltd v Severn and Another ChD 1-Apr-2011
The parties disputed the boundary between their respective plots.
Held: Simon Barker QC J set out (and then applied) the principles for resolving boundary lines: ‘1 Where, as in this case, the property in question is registered land, the file . .
CitedSlack v Leeds Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd CA 1924
Nothing in Colls served to undermine the ‘good working rule’ of A L Smith LJ in Shelfer, although they discharged a quia timet injunction and ordered an inquiry as to damages . .
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .
ExplainedFishenden v Higgs and Hill Ltd CA 1935
An injunction had been refused an injunction in respect of an infringement of an easement of light and awarded damages in lieu, even though the damages would be substantial because it had been shown that the plaintiff was plainly ‘only wanting . .
CitedHKRUK II (CHC) Ltd v Heaney ChD 3-Sep-2010
The claimant sought a declaration that its property was free of a suggested right of light in favour of its neighbour . .
CitedRegan v Paul Properties Ltd and others CA 26-Oct-2006
The court considered the appropriate remedy after a finding of infringement of a right to light, and in particular: ‘whether the proper remedy for infringement in this case is damages for nuisance, as ordered by the court below, or whether a . .
CitedMiller v Jackson CA 6-Apr-1977
The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Damages, Land

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.182118

Rylands v Fletcher: HL 1868

The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant was bound ‘sic uit suo ut non laedat alienum’. ‘The defendants, treating them as the owners or occupiers of the close on which the reservoir was constructed, might lawfully have used that close for any purpose for which it might in the ordinary course of the enjoyment of land be used; and if, in what I may term the natural user of that land, there had been any accumulation of water, either on the surface or underground, and if, by the operation of the laws of nature, that accumulation of water had passed off into the close occupied by the plaintiff, the plaintiff could not have complained . . On the other hand if the defendants, not stopping at the natural use of their close, had desired to use it for any purpose which I may term a non-natural use, for the purpose of introducing into the close that which in its natural condition was not in or upon it, for the purpose of introducing water either above or below ground in quantities and in a manner not the result of any work or operation on or under the land, – and if in consequence of their doing so, or in consequence of any imperfection in the mode of their doing so, the water came to escape and to pass off into the close of the plaintiff, then it appears to me that that which the defendants were doing they were doing at their own peril; and, if in the course of their doing it, the evil arose to which I have referred, the evil, namely, of the escape of the water and its passing away to the close of the plaintiff and injuring the plaintiff, then for the consequence of that, in my opinion, the defendants would be liable.’

Lord Cairns LC
(1868) LR 3 HL 330, [1868] UKHL 1
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromRylands v Fletcher CEC 1865
Mr Fletcher’s Lancashire coal mine was flooded by the water from Mr Rylands’ mill reservoir in 1860-61.
Held: Mr Rylands was responsible. Blackburn J said: ‘We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings . .
CitedSmith v Kenrick CCP 1849
Where there are two minings working adjacent land, each has the right to work his own mine, and to construct shafts in his own mine in whatever way he thinks fit, and even if this results naturally in damage to the neighbour’s mine, provided he is . .
CitedBaird v Williamson 1863
The parties worked mines on adjacent land. Water flooded the plaintiff’s mine and he sought damages from the defendant.
Held: He was liable. The water from the defendant’s mine had been raised to a higher level by pumping (‘non-naturally’) and . .

Cited by:
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
CitedTransco plc and Another v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council CA 1-Mar-2001
A water pipe serving housing passed through an embankment. The pipe broke, and the escaping water led to the collapse of the bank to the expense of the applicants.
Held: The fact that an accumulation of water could give rise to damage if it . .
CitedThames Water Utilities Limited v Marcic CA 7-Feb-2002
The claimant owned land over which sewage and other water had spilled from the appellant’s sewage works. His claim having been dismissed under Rylands v Fletcher, and there being no statutory means of obtaining compensation, the judge was asked to . .
CitedMcKenna and Others v British Aluminum Ltd ChD 16-Jan-2002
Claimants began an action in nuisance and Rylands v Fletcher against the respondents. They sought to strike out the claim on the basis that some of the claimants did not have a sufficient interest in the land affected. The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedX v A, B, C ChD 29-Mar-2000
Trustees sought guidance from the court as to investment in land which might become a liability because of clean up costs associated with the Act when it came into force. Would the trustees have a lien over other property of the deceased to pay the . .
CitedGreen v The Right Honourable Lord Somerleyton and others CA 28-Feb-2003
The parties owned areas of marshland divided by a road. The claimant sought a declaration that the defendants had no right to allow floodwater to escape over his land from what he said was an artificial reservoir on the defendant’s land. The . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc: Cambridge Water Company v Hutchings and Harding Ltd CA 19-Nov-1992
The defendants operated a plant using chlorinated solvent chemicals which, over a long period had seeped through the floor of their factory and into the chalk subsoil, eventually polluting the plaintiff’s water supply some mile and half away. The . .
CitedRead v J Lyons and Co Ltd HL 1946
The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had . .
ExplainedBurnie Port Authority v General Jones Property Ltd 1994
(High Court of Australia) The court treated the rule in Rylands v Fletcher as absorbed by the principles of ordinary negligence. The majority were influenced by the difficulties of interpretation and application to which the rule had given rise, the . .
ExplainedRoss v Fedden HL 1872
The defendant occupied premises above those of the plaintiff. Whilst the property was unattended, the water closet leaked, damaging the plaintiff’s goods on the ground floor. The waste pipe had been blocked by paper and there were other defects. . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedRHM Bakeries (Scotland) Ltd v Strathclyde Regional Council 1985
The suggestion that the decision in Rylands v Fletcher had any place in Scots law is ‘a heresy which ought to be extirpated.’ . .
AppliedAttorney General v Cory Brothers and Co Ltd HL 1921
The defendant colliers placed waste from the mine in a huge heap. Rain cause the heap to slip, damaging nearby properties. the landslide in question was of what counsel described as an ‘enormous mass of rubbish’, some 500,000 tons of mineral waste . .
CitedRainham Chemical Works Ltd (in liquidation) and others v Belvedere Fish Guano Co Ltd HL 1921
At a time of war, a process was invented where picric acid was manufactured from dinitrophenol (DNP) and nitrate of soda. DNP had been used mainly for the manufacture of dyes, and was a stable compound which did not explode easily. It was not in . .
CitedPerry v Kendricks Transport Ltd CA 1956
The Act gave a defence to liability for a fire which started accidentally, this did not cover a fire which started by negligence. . .
CitedShiffman v Order of St John of Jerusalem (Grand Priory in the British Realm of the Venerable Order of the Hospital) 1936
The plaintiff recovered damages for personal injuries under the rule in Rylands -v- Fletcher. . .
CitedMiles v Forest Rock Granite Co (Leicestershire) Ltd 1918
. .
DistinguishedCarstairs v Taylor 1871
The plaintiffs were tenants of the ground floor of a building. The defendants occupied the top floor. A rat gnawed through a box in which rain water was collected from the roof, causing a leak into the plaintiff’s property, causing damage. No . .
CitedAnderson v Oppenheimer CA 1880
The defendant owned a house in the City of London with different floors let to tenants. In the lease of the ground floor, he covenanted to allow the tenant ‘peaceably hold and enjoy the demised premises during the term without any interruption by . .
CitedRickards v Lothian PC 11-Feb-1913
The claim arose because the outflow from a wash-basin on the top floor of premises was maliciously blocked and the tap left running, with the result that damage was caused to stock on a floor below.
Held: The provision of a domestic water . .
CitedGreen v Chelsea Waterworks Co 1894
A water main belonging to a waterworks company, which had been authorized by Parliament to lay the main, burst. There had been no negligence on the part of the waterworks company. The claimants’ premises were flooded but the waterworks company was . .
ExplainedDunne v North Western Gas Board CA 1964
Works carried out by virtue of a statutory authority are a recognised exemption to liability under the rule in Rylands -v- Fletcher. The defendant’s liability in Rylands: ‘could simply have been placed on the defendants’ failure of duty to take . .
CitedNichols v Marsland CA 1876
Flood following heavy rain was not negligent
The defendant was the owner of a series of artificial ornamental lakes, which had existed for a great number of years, and had never previous to 18th June, 1872 caused any damage. On that day, however, after a most unusual fall of rain, the lakes . .
CitedHale v Jennings Bros 1938
The owner of the fairground was held to be responsible for a chair-o-plane which became detached from the roundabout, because the act of the man ‘fooling about on this device’ was: ‘just the kind of behaviour which ought to have been anticipated as . .
CitedOverseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Miller Steamship Co Pty (The Wagon Mound) (No 2) PC 25-May-1966
(New South Wales) When considering the need to take steps to avoid injury, the court looked to the nature of defendant’s activity. There was no social value or cost saving in this defendant’s activity. ‘In the present case there was no justification . .
CitedCharing Cross Electricity Supply Co v Hydraulic Power Co 1914
A high pressure water main laid under a city street could constitute something dangerous brought onto the defendant’s land and which involved a risk of damaging the plaintiffs’ property. . .
CitedAndreae v Selfridge and Co Ltd CA 1938
The plaintiff had a hotel. The rest of the island had been acquired by the defendant which was demolishing and rebuilding the other properties. The plaintiff complained, and the judge found, that by reason of the operations, which involved noise and . .
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedLonghurst v Metropolitan Water Board HL 1948
Water had leaked from a main and disturbed paving stones in the highway. The water board had had no knowledge of or reason to suspect any danger to the public at the place in question.
Held: Affirming the Court of Appeal, since the board was . .
CitedAllen v Gulf Oil Refining Ltd HL 29-Jan-1980
An express statutory authority to construct an oil refinery carried with it the authority to refine. It was impossible to construct and operate the refinery upon the site without creating a nuisance. Lord Wilberforce said: ‘It is now well settled . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd QBD 20-Dec-1994
The plaintiff made two claims arising from the construction works involvd in the Canary Wharf development. First that the building now prevented her TV signal reception, and second that the works had released substantial volumes of dust so as to . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd; Same v London Docklands Development Board CA 13-Oct-1995
A release of dust over neighbouring properties can be a nuisance but not a blocking of TV reception signals. No action lay in private nuisance for interference with television caused by the mere presence of a building. ‘A substantial link between . .
CitedGilbert and Another (T/A Woods Farm Christmas Trees) v British Waterways Board TCC 15-Dec-2005
The respondent was responsible for a canal which overflowed onto the claimant’s land causing damage to the claimant’s business providing christmas trees. The defendant criticised the lack of accounting records.
Held: The claimants operated . .
MentionedBedfordshire Police Authority v Constable and others ComC 20-Jun-2008
The authority insured its primary liability for compensation under the 1886 Act through the claimants and the excess of liability through re-insurers. The parties sought clarification from the court of the respective liabilities of the insurance . .
CitedD Pride and Partners (A Firm) and Others v Institute for Animal Health and Others QBD 31-Mar-2009
The claimants sought damages after the loss of business when the defendants’ premises were the source of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The organism had escaped from their premises via a broken drain.
Held: Much of the damage claimed . .
CitedHome Brewery v William Davis and Co (Leicester) Ltd QBD 1986
The defendant, owner of the higher land, filled in a disused clay pit, and squeezed out water from an osier bed with the result that more water flowed onto the neighbouring plaintiff’s land causing damage. The plaintiff sought damages and an . .
CitedHamilton v Papakura District Council and Watercare Services Ltd PC 28-Feb-2002
(New Zealand) The claimants sought damages. The water authority had put in the water supply herbicides which damaged the crops they sought to grow, and which were watered from the supply. The plants were particularly sensitive to such chemicals.
CitedWillis and Another v Derwentside District Council ChD 10-Apr-2013
The claimants sought damages alleging the escape of noxious CO2 gas from the defendant’s neighbouring land. The gas originated from old coal workings.
Held: There had come to be a liability falling in the defendant from 2006. Its delay in . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedMusgrove v Pandelis CA 2-Jan-1919
The plaintiff ((M) rented first floor rooms above the defendant’s garage. The defendant’s employee spilt petrol which was lit, and negligently failed to control it causing a fire, damaging the plaintiff’s rooms.
Held: The Act did not provide a . .
CitedMason v Levy Autoparts of England Ltd 1967
McKenna J said that there were not three separate routes to liability at law for the escape of fire from premises to a neighbour’s property, but one. A householder was liable for the escape of his fire (ignis suus): no additional danger was needed . .
CitedWoodland v Essex County Council SC 23-Oct-2013
The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.179681

Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited: HL 4 Dec 2003

The claimant’s house was regularly flooded by waters including also foul sewage from the respondent’s neighbouring premises. He sought damages and an injunction. The defendants sought to restrict the claimant to his statutory rights.
Held: The damages were restricted to the statutory ones. The defendant was regulated under the 1991 Act by the Director-General, who had enforcement powers. By 18(8), when a contravention occurred the means of enforcement provided was to be the sole remedy. The water company was not a normal land owner, but rather operated by virtue of the statutory scheme, and the statutory remedies excluded the common law ones. ‘Direct and serious interference of this nature with a person’s home is prima-facie a violation of a person’s right to respect for his private and family life (Article 8) and of his entitlement to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions (Article 1 of the First Protocol). The burden of justifying this interference rests with Thames Water. ‘ Even so, the claim under human rights law failed because of the existence of the statutory remedy. That scheme struck a reasonable balance. Parliament had acted well within its bounds as policy maker.

Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, Lord Steyn, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Scott of Foscote
[2003] UKHL 66, Times 05-Dec-2003, Gazette 29-Jan-2004, [2004] 2 AC 42, [2003] 50 EGCS 95, [2003] 3 WLR 1603, [2004] 1 All ER 135, [2003] NPC 150, 91 Con LR 1, [2004] BLR 1, [2004] UKHRR 253, [2004] Env LR 25, [2004] HRLR 10
House of Lords, Bailii
Water Industry Act 1991 18(8) 94(1), European Convention on Human Rights 8
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromThames Water Utilities Limited v Marcic CA 7-Feb-2002
The claimant owned land over which sewage and other water had spilled from the appellant’s sewage works. His claim having been dismissed under Rylands v Fletcher, and there being no statutory means of obtaining compensation, the judge was asked to . .
CitedRobinson v Workington Corporation CA 1897
Mr Robinson’s houses were damaged by water overflowing from the council’s public sewers. The sewers were adequate until new houses were built. He claimed damages in respect of the council’s failure to build a new sewer of sufficient dimensions to . .
CitedPasmore v Oswaldtwistle Urban District Council HL 1898
Where an Act creates an obligation, and enforces the performance in a specified manner, it is a general rule that performance cannot be enforced in any other manner.
Earl of Halsbury LC said: ‘The principle that where a specific remedy is given . .
CitedHesketh v Birmingham Corporation 1924
The court rejected a claim for nuisance where a claim was available under the 1875 Act. . .
CitedSmeaton v Ilford Corporation ChD 1954
Overloading caused the corporation’s foul sewer to erupt through a manhole and discharge ‘deleterious and malodorous matter’ into Mr Smeaton’s garden.
Held: The authority were not liable. e connections with the sewer and to discharge their . .
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedHolbeck Hall Hotel Ltd and Another v Scarborough Borough Council CA 22-Feb-2000
Land owned by the defendant was below a cliff, at the top of which was the claimant’s hotel. The land slipped, and the hotel collapsed. Some landslip was foreseen from natural causes, but not to the extent of this occasion.
Held: The owner of . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedHatton and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 8-Jul-2003
More Night Flights No Infringement of Family Life
The claimants complained that the respondent had acted to infringe their rights. They were residents living locally to Heathrow Airport. They claimed the respondent had increased the number of night flights, causing increased noise, but without . .
CitedBaron v Portslade Urban District Council 1900
The local authority was held liable for omitting to clean a sewer. The existence of a procedure for the enforcement of statutory duties did not exclude common law remedies for common law torts, such as a nuisance arising from failure to keep a sewer . .
CitedPride of Derby and Derbyshire Angling Association Ltd v British Celanese Ltd CA 1953
The plaintiff brought an action for nuisance against the local authority for having discharged insufficiently treated effluent into the river Derwent.
Held: The plaintiffs: ‘have a perfectly good cause of action for nuisance, if they can show . .
CitedBuckley v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Sep-1996
The Commission had concluded, by a narrow majority, that the measures taken by the respondent in refusing planning permission and enforcing planning orders were excessive and disproportionate, even allowing a margin of appreciation enjoyed by the . .
At First InstanceMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd TCC 14-May-2001
. .
At First instanceMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd TCC 10-Jul-2001
. .

Cited by:
CitedLough and others v First Secretary of State Bankside Developments Ltd CA 12-Jul-2004
The appellants challenged the grant of planning permission for neighbouring land. They sought to protect their own amenities and the Tate Modern Gallery.
Held: The only basis of the challenge was under article 8. Cases established of a breach . .
CitedAndrews v Reading Borough Council QBD 29-Apr-2004
The claimant sought damages for increased road noise resulting from traffic control measures taken by the respondent.
Held: The defendants action to strike out the claim could not succeed. They had not shown that the claim was unarguable, . .
CitedInland Revenue and Another v Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Group Plc CA 4-Feb-2005
The company sought repayment of excess advance corporation tax payments made under a mistake of law. The question was the extent of the effect of the ruling in Klienwort Benson, in particular whether it covered sums paid as taxation, and how the law . .
CitedMuck It Ltd v Merritt and others; traffic Commissioner v Muck It Ltd and Others, Secretary of State for Transport intervening CA 15-Sep-2005
The applicant appealed revocation of its operator’s licence.
Held: The Commissioner had erred. When revoking an existing goods vehicle licence the burden was on the commissioner to establish that there was good cause to revoke the licence, and . .
CitedDeutsche Morgan Grenfell Group Plc v Inland Revenue and Another HL 25-Oct-2006
The tax payer had overpaid Advance Corporation Tax under an error of law. It sought repayment. The revenue contended that the claim was time barred.
Held: The claim was in restitution, and the limitation period began to run from the date when . .
CitedTotal Network Sl v Revenue and Customs HL 12-Mar-2008
The House was asked whether an action for unlawful means conspiracy was available against a participant in a missing trader intra-community, or carousel, fraud. The company appealed a finding of liability saying that the VAT Act and Regulations . .
CitedDobson and others v Thames Water Utilities Ltd and Another CA 29-Jan-2009
The claimants complained of odours and mosquitoes affecting their properties from the activities of the defendants in the conduct of their adjoining Sewage Treatment plant. The issue was as to the rights of non title holders to damages in nuisance . .
CitedBarratt Homes Ltd v Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) SC 9-Dec-2009
The developers wanted to construct their private sewer to the public sewer at a point convenient to them. The water company said a connection at the point proposed would overload the sewer, and refused. The developer claimed that it had the right to . .
CitedThe Child Poverty Action Group v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions SC 8-Dec-2010
The Action Group had obtained a declaration that, where an overpayment of benefits had arisen due to a miscalculation by the officers of the Department, any process of recovering the overpayment must be by the Act, and that the Department could not . .
CitedQuila and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 12-Oct-2011
Parties challenged the rule allowing the respondent to deny the right to enter or remain here to non EU citizens marrying a person settled and present here where either party was under the age of 21. The aim of the rule was to deter forced . .
CitedPrudential Plc and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Another SC 23-Jan-2013
The appellants resisted disclosure to the revenue of advice it had received. It claimed legal advice privilege (LAP), though the advice was from its accountants.
Held: (Lords Sumption and Clarke dissenting) LAP applies to all communications . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Utilities, Environment, Nuisance, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.188435

Lambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd and Another: CA 16 Jun 2010

The claimants had bought houses from the first defendants, who in turn had bought the land from Rochdale, the second defendants. In preparing the land for construction the first defendants were said to have negligently filled in a drainage culvert so that the claimants’ properties were flooded by water flowing from the second defendant’s retained land, over the strip owned by the first defendants and onto the claimants’ properties. Rochdale appealed a finding of partial liability.
Held: The court regretted that the case should be continued in the face of a practical solution now available. Nevertheless though the necessary works could not be undertaken without access to the second defendant’s land, the judge had mistakenly exended this to a duty to contribute to the costs of the works. ‘Rochdale was not in the slightest degree responsible for the cause of the flooding but as a result of Barratt’s actions the only way of removing the hazard which resulted from the natural accumulation of rainwater at the south eastern corner of the retained land was to construct a catch pit on the retained land and pipe the water to the sewer by a different route. ‘
The duty asserted went beyond the duty as described in Leakey. Though Rochdale should not be dismissed from the case, their appeal succeeded.

May J P, Longmore LJ, Moore-Bick LJ
[2010] EWCA Civ 681, [2010] Env LR D8, [2010] 33 EG 72, [2010] NPC 69, (2010) 131 Con LR 29, [2010] BLR 527, [2010] 2 EGLR 59, [2010] 25 EG 103 (CS), [2010] JPL 1625
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedArscott and others v Coal Authority and Another CA 13-Jul-2004
The defendant had deposited coal wastes. When the river Taff flooded, the spoil heaps diverted the floods to damage the claimants’ homes. They appealed refusal of their claims in nuisance. The judge applied the common enemy rule: ‘an owner or . .
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedArscott and others v Coal Authority and Another CA 13-Jul-2004
The defendant had deposited coal wastes. When the river Taff flooded, the spoil heaps diverted the floods to damage the claimants’ homes. They appealed refusal of their claims in nuisance. The judge applied the common enemy rule: ‘an owner or . .
CitedGreen v The Right Honourable Lord Somerleyton and others CA 28-Feb-2003
The parties owned areas of marshland divided by a road. The claimant sought a declaration that the defendants had no right to allow floodwater to escape over his land from what he said was an artificial reservoir on the defendant’s land. The . .
DistinguishedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedHolbeck Hall Hotel Ltd and Another v Scarborough Borough Council CA 22-Feb-2000
Land owned by the defendant was below a cliff, at the top of which was the claimant’s hotel. The land slipped, and the hotel collapsed. Some landslip was foreseen from natural causes, but not to the extent of this occasion.
Held: The owner of . .
CitedPalmer and Another v Bowman and Another CA 27-Oct-1999
There is no easement of right for an owner of higher land for water naturally to drain off over neighbouring lower land, and nor was an easement required. The doctrine of lost modern grant need not be applied. Although the higher land owner had no . .
CitedCaparo Industries Plc v Dickman and others HL 8-Feb-1990
Limitation of Loss from Negligent Mis-statement
The plaintiffs sought damages from accountants for negligence. They had acquired shares in a target company and, relying upon the published and audited accounts which overstated the company’s earnings, they purchased further shares.
Held: The . .
CitedBroder v Saillard 1875
. .
CitedHurdman v North Eastern Railway Co 1878
The defendants raised their land, so that the rain collected and penetrated an adjoining wall and ran into the plaintiff’s land, causing substantial damage.
Held: The heap or mound erected on the defendants’ land had to be considered as ‘an . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Negligence

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.416761

Tod-Heatley v Benham: 1888

What was ‘annoyance’ between neighbours

The court considered how to construe a covenant in a lease ‘nor do or wittingly or willingly cause or suffer to be done any act, matter, or thing in or upon or about the said premises, which shall or may be or grow to the annoyance, nuisance, grievance or damage of the lessor, her heirs and assigns, or the inhabitants of the neighbouring or adjoining houses.’ The tenant wished to establish a hospital for the treatment of various diseases.
Held: ‘Annoyance’ is a word with no definite legal meaning; but that what one had to ask was whether what was being done amounted to interference with the pleasurable enjoyment of the neighbouring property. The wording of such a covenant is deliberately designed to give greater protection than the common law.
Bowen LJ said: ‘The meaning is that which annoys, that which raises an objection in the minds of reasonable men may be an annoyance within the meaning of the covenant.’ and ‘Now, all we have to consider is, on the evidence before us, whether this hospital is a thing which is an annoyance to the lessor or to the inhabitants of the neighbouring or adjoining houses. What is the meaning of the term ‘annoyance’? It implies more, as it seems to me, than ‘nuisance.’ The language of the covenant is, that nothing is to be done, ‘which shall or may be or grow to the annoyance, nuisance, grievance, or damage of the lessor or the inhabitants of the neighbouring or adjoining houses.’ Now, if ‘annoyance’ meant the same thing as ‘nuisance’ it would not have been put in. It means something different from nuisance. If guided strictly by the Common Law, we know what nuisance is. Whether the term is employed in the covenant in the exact sense of the term at Common Law or not, is a matter that may be doubted, but I will assume as matter of argument only, that ‘nuisance’ in this covenant means only a nuisance at Common Law . . ‘Annoyance’ is a wider term than nuisance, and if you find a thing which reasonably troubles the mind and pleasure, not of a fanciful person or of a skilled person who knows the truth, but of the ordinary sensible English inhabitant of a house – if you find there is anything which disturbs his reasonable peace of mind, that seems to me to be an annoyance, although it may not appear to amount to physical detriment to comfort. You must take sensible people, you must not take fanciful people on the one side or skilled people on the other; and that is the key as it seems to me of this case.’
Cotton LJ said: ‘Then comes the question whether there is an annoyance or grievance either to the adjoining houses or to the houses on the property in question. Now ‘annoyance or grievance’ are words which have no definite legal meaning. It has been pressed upon us that we cannot say that it was that which was an annoyance or grievance to reasonable people, because the Judges, in speaking of what would be an annoyance to reasonable people, are only speaking of what they themselves really think would be an annoyance or grievance. That is the difficulty that Judges very often have to deal with; they must not take that to be an annoyance or grievance which would only be so to some sensitive persons. They must decide not upon what their own individual thoughts are, but on what, in their opinion and upon the evidence before them, would be an annoyance or grievance to reasonable, sensible people; and, in my opinion, an act which is an interference with the pleasurable enjoyment of a house is an annoyance or grievance, and within the definition given by V.-C. Knight-Bruce in Walter v. Selfe (1). It is not sufficient in order to bring the case within the words of the covenant, for the Plaintiffs to shew that a particular man objects to what is done, but we must be satisfied by argument and by evidence, that reasonable people, having regard to the ordinary use of a house for pleasurable enjoyment, would be annoyed or aggrieved by what is being done. In my opinion, it is not necessary in order to shew that there has been reasonable ground for annoyance or grievance, to prove absolute danger or risk of infection. In my opinion a reasonable apprehension of nuisance from acts done by the Defendant is a matter which will produce such interference with the pleasurable and reasonable enjoyment of the adjoining houses as to come within the words ‘annoyance or grievance’; not that any particular person is annoyed or aggrieved, but that there is annoyance or grievance to persons who entertain reasonable views.’
Lindley LJ said: ‘The question which arises is, what is the meaning of the expression ‘shall or may be or grow to the annoyance, nuisance, or damage’ of the persons named. Certainly that string of words is introduced in order to give the covenantee a greater protection than he would have had without any such words at all, or if only one of those words were used. There is no use in putting in the words ‘any grievance or damage’ as additions to nuisance except for the very purpose of giving some greater protection than he would have had if the word ‘nuisance’ alone were used and included in the covenant.
Still we come back to the question whether that which has been done is not within those words, ‘such as shall cause or may be or grow to the annoyance or grievance of the lessor.’ Now what is the meaning of annoyance? The meaning is that which annoys, that which raises objections and unpleasant feelings. Anything which raises an objection in the minds of reasonable men may be an annoyance within the meaning of the covenant. Then to whom is it to be an annoyance? It must be to ‘the lessor, her heirs or assigns,’ or the inhabitants of the adjoining houses; the lessor is represented by Mr. Tod-Heatly, the owner of the reversion of this property. In this case he says: ‘It is not because I live there, but because my tenants come to me and complain, and it gives me trouble and vexation, since what annoys them is a trouble and vexation to me.’ But the under-tenants, are they not annoyed? Is there nothing done here which raises an objection on their part, looking at them as reasonable beings? Is it a fanciful feeling of distaste? I must say at one time I thought that the Appellant might succeed in shewing that there was really nothing to complain of here except fanciful annoyance to the proprietor and to the inhabitants of the adjoining houses. It struck me there might be some doubt whether there was any annoyance to the neighbouring or adjoining houses – more than some fanciful distaste, which would not be sufficient. But upon the evidence I am satisfied that what has been done really does annoy a great many people on this estate. It appears to me to be unnecessary to decide whether the doctors on the Defendant’s side are right in saying that there is nothing to be.’

Bowen LJ, Cotton LJ, Lindley LJ
(1888) 40 CH D 80
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedWoods and Another v Riley and Another CA 4-Jul-2005
Neighbours claimed under a covenant requiring the defendants not to use their land in such a way as to cause a nuisance. The neighbours had extended their shop so as to include a post office.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. Claims in nuisance . .
CitedTabernacle v Secretary of State for Defence Admn 6-Mar-2008
The court considered the validity of bye-laws used to exclude protesters from land near a military base at Aldermarston.
Held: The byelaw which banned an ‘camp’ was sufficiently certain, but not that part which sought to ban any person who . .
CitedWood v Cooper 1894
There was a long lease of land with a dwellinghouse built on it. The lease contained covenants: ‘not to erect or build or cause to be erected or built upon the said piece of ground thereby demised, without the previous license in writing of the . .
CitedDennis and Another v Davies (B20 (Ch)) ChD 21-Nov-2008
The claimants sought to enforce a restrictive covenant to restrain a neighbour building an extension.
Held: A building could be a source of annoyance and therefore a breach of the particular covenant. The requirement for the builder’s . .
CitedDavies v Dennis and Others CA 22-Oct-2009
The land owner appealed against an injunction given to prevent him carrying out building works which the neighbours said would breach a restrictive covenant. The covenants negatived a building scheme.
Held: The appeal failed. Covenants of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Landlord and Tenant

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.230986

Sturges v Bridgman: CA 1879

The character of the neighbourhood in which the plaintiff lives should, for the law of nuisance, include established features: ‘whether anything is a nuisance or not is a question to be determined, not merely by an abstract consideration of the thing itself, but in reference to its circumstances; what would be a nuisance in Belgrave Square would not necessarily be so in Bermondsey; and where a locality is devoted to a particular trade or manufacture carried on by the traders or manufacturers in a particular and established manner not constituting a public nuisance, Judges and juries would be justified in finding, and may be trusted to find, that the trade or manufacture so carried on in that locality is not a private and actionable wrong.’
If a man ‘temporarily licenses’ his neighbour’s enjoyment, that enjoyment is precario in terms of the civil law phrase ‘nec vi nec clam nec precario’. It is not a defence that the plaintiff came to the nuisance.

Thesiger LJ
[1879] 11 Ch D 852
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDennis and Dennis v Ministry of Defence QBD 16-Apr-2003
The applicants owned a substantial property near an airbase. They complained that changes in the patterns of flying by the respondents were a nuisance and sought damages. Walcot Hall was subjected to very high noise levels from military aircraft. . .
AppliedMills and Another v Silver and others CA 1991
A farm’s only vehicular access was over land which was only useable occasionally when dry. The defendants laid a stone track to facilitate constant access. At first instance it was held that the earlier use had been too intermittent to allow a . .
CitedRegina v City of Sunderland ex parte Beresford HL 13-Nov-2003
Land had been used as a park for many years. The council land owner refused to register it as a common, saying that by maintaining the park it had indicated that the use was by consent and licence, and that prescription did not apply.
Held: . .
CitedLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others QBD 4-Mar-2011
The claimants had complained that motor-cycle and other racing activities on neighbouring lands were a noise nuisance, but the court also considered that agents of the defendants had sought to intimidate the claimants into not pursuing their action. . .
CitedThornhill and Others v Nationwide Metal Recycling Ltd and Another CA 29-Jul-2011
The appellants challenged a decision that the defendants had ceased to be committing an actionable nuisance after erecting a sound barrier between their metal scrap yard and the claimants’ properties.
Held: The judge had correcly applied the . .
CitedMerthyr Tydfil Car Auction Ltd v Thomas and Another CA 11-Jul-2013
The company appealed against an award of 9,000 pounds for nuisance in the form of excessive noise and fumes.
Held: The appeal failed: ‘the grant of planning permission cannot authorise the commission of a nuisance but it may, following its . .
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .
CitedMiller v Jackson CA 6-Apr-1977
The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Land

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.182120

Cambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc: HL 9 Dec 1993

The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under Rylands for escape of materials from land is dependant upon proof of the foreseeability of damage of the relevant type. Here, it was not established that the defendants could have foreseen the damage which was in fact caused. Neighbours had to use the rule of give and take and live and let live.
Lord Goff of Chieveley said: ‘Like the judge in the present case, I incline to the opinion that, as a general rule, it is more appropriate for strict liability in respect of operations of high risk to be imposed by Parliament, than by the courts. If such liability is imposed by statute, the relevant activities can be identified, and those concerned can know where they stand. Furthermore, statute can where appropriate lay down precise criteria establishing the incidence and scope of such liability.’
Lord Goff approved what he suggested was the tenor of what Blackburne J’s statement of the law had meant in Fletcher v Rylands (1866) LR 1 Ex 265: ‘The general tenor of his statement of principle is therefore that knowledge, or at least foreseeability of the risk, is a prerequisite of the recovery of damages under the principle; but that the principle is one of strict liability in the sense that the defendant may be held liable notwithstanding that he has exercised all due care to prevent the escape from occurring’. He reviewed the law of nuisance: ‘Of course, although liability for nuisance has generally been regarded as strict, at least in the case of a defendant who has been responsible for the creation of a nuisance, even so that liability has been kept under control by the principal of reasonable user-the principal of give and take as between neighbouring occupiers of land, under which ‘those acts necessary for the common and ordinary use and occupation of land and houses may be done, if conveniently done, without subjecting those who do them to an action’: see Bamford v. Turnley [1862] 3 B and S, 62, 83, per Bramwell B.’ and ‘It is not necessary for me to identify precise differences which may be drawn between this principle [in Rylands] and the principle of reasonable user as applied in the law of nuisance. It is enough for present purposes that I should draw attention to the similarity of function.’

Lord Templeman, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Lowry and Lord Woolf, Lord Goff of Chieveley
Times 10-Dec-1993, Gazette 16-Mar-1994, Independent 10-Dec-1993, (1994) 1 All ER 53, [1994] 2 WLR 53, [1994] 2 AC 264, [1993] UKHL 12
lip, Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedOverseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Miller Steamship Co Pty (The Wagon Mound) (No 2) PC 25-May-1966
(New South Wales) When considering the need to take steps to avoid injury, the court looked to the nature of defendant’s activity. There was no social value or cost saving in this defendant’s activity. ‘In the present case there was no justification . .
Appeal fromCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc: Cambridge Water Company v Hutchings and Harding Ltd CA 19-Nov-1992
The defendants operated a plant using chlorinated solvent chemicals which, over a long period had seeped through the floor of their factory and into the chalk subsoil, eventually polluting the plaintiff’s water supply some mile and half away. The . .
AppliedRead v J Lyons and Co Ltd HL 1946
The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had . .
CitedBamford v Turnley 2-Jul-1862
The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment . .

Cited by:
CitedJan De Nul (Uk) Limited v NV Royale Belge CA 10-Oct-2001
The contractor undertook to dredge a stretch of river. Due to its failure to investigate properly, the result was the release of substantial volumes of silt into the estuary, to the damage of other river users and frontagers. The act amounted to a . .
AppliedSavage and Another v Fairclough and others CA 30-Jul-1999
The defendants had applied inorganic fertiliser to their land, eventually causing pollution of the claimant’s water supply. The pollution exceeded EC levels. However the claimants had not established that the damage was foreseeable, nor that the . .
CitedMcKenna and Others v British Aluminum Ltd ChD 16-Jan-2002
Claimants began an action in nuisance and Rylands v Fletcher against the respondents. They sought to strike out the claim on the basis that some of the claimants did not have a sufficient interest in the land affected. The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedDennis and Dennis v Ministry of Defence QBD 16-Apr-2003
The applicants owned a substantial property near an airbase. They complained that changes in the patterns of flying by the respondents were a nuisance and sought damages. Walcot Hall was subjected to very high noise levels from military aircraft. . .
FollowedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedAnthony and others v The Coal Authority QBD 28-Jul-2005
The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
CitedHirose Electrical UK Ltd v Peak Ingredients Ltd CA 11-Aug-2011
The claimant appealed against dismissal of its claim in nuisance. The parties occupied adjoining units on an industrial estate. The defendant’s business generated odour which, the wall between them being permeable, passed into the claimant’s office . .
CitedSouthwark London Borough Council v Mills/Tanner; Baxter v Camden London Borough Council HL 21-Oct-1999
Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Environment, Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 09 November 2021; Ref: scu.78841

Holbeck Hall Hotel Ltd and Another v Scarborough Borough Council: CA 22 Feb 2000

Land owned by the defendant was below a cliff, at the top of which was the claimant’s hotel. The land slipped, and the hotel collapsed. Some landslip was foreseen from natural causes, but not to the extent of this occasion.
Held: The owner of a servient tenement was under a duty to take positive steps to provide support for a neighbour’s land. There was no difference in principle between the danger caused by loss of support and any other hazard or nuisance on the Defendant’s land, such as the encroachment of some obnoxious thing, which affected the Claimant’s use and enjoyment of his land. Where the question was not whether the Defendant had created the nuisance but whether he had adopted or continued it, there was no reason why different principles should apply to one kind of nuisance rather than another. In each case, liability only arose if there was negligence and the duty to abate the nuisance arose from the Defendant’s knowledge of the hazard which would affect his neighbour. The owner of the lower land would be liable where the condition was known, or deemed to be known, and the damage was reasonably foreseeable. Where however the damage was so extensive as not to be foreseeable, liability was not established.

Stuart-Smith LJ
Times 02-Mar-2000, Gazette 02-Mar-2000, Gazette 16-Mar-2000, [2000] QB 836, [2000] EWCA Civ 51, [2000] 2 All ER 705
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromHolbeck Hall Hotel Limited and English Rose Hotels (Yorkshire) Limited v Scarborough Borough Council QBD 2-Oct-1997
The occupier of land which was downhill of dominant land has the same obligation in nuisance and otherwise as the uphill neighbour. A right of support was included. . .

Cited by:
CitedDevon County Council v Webber and Another CA 19-Apr-2002
The respondent was owner of land. Occasional substantial storms washed quantities of surface soil over the road. The claimant highway authority served notices required part of the land not to be used for arable purposes. After a further storm the . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited HL 4-Dec-2003
The claimant’s house was regularly flooded by waters including also foul sewage from the respondent’s neighbouring premises. He sought damages and an injunction. The defendants sought to restrict the claimant to his statutory rights.
Held: The . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedAnthony and others v The Coal Authority QBD 28-Jul-2005
The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd (Manchester Division) and Another QBD 17-Feb-2009
The claimant sought damages in nuisance and negligence saying that in constructing a new housing estate, they had altered the land in such a way as to lead to the repeated flooding of their home.
Held: Both the developer and the council were . .
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd and Another CA 16-Jun-2010
The claimants had bought houses from the first defendants, who in turn had bought the land from Rochdale, the second defendants. In preparing the land for construction the first defendants were said to have negligently filled in a drainage culvert . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Torts – Other, Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.147084

Caminer v Northern and London Investment Trust Ltd: HL 1951

An elm tree, standing on land adjoining a busy London highway, fell, injuring the plaintiffs, who were using the thoroughfare. The House considered the duty of a land owner to inspect trees on his land adjoining the highway.
Held: Lord Normand observed that although the defendants had not complied with their duty, ‘it is no less plain that, if they had, it would have made no difference. The tree was just such a tree as [the expert witness] says the owner might consider safe.’
Where a person takes it upon himself to perform a task in circumstances where a reasonable man would think it necessary to call in an expert the standard of care and degree of foreseeability the law will require of him may well be that of an expert.
Lord Reid outlined the extent of the duty: ‘So in my judgment the appellants can only succeed in this appeal if they can show that there was something about this particular tree which should have suggested that lopping or other action was necessary. What inspection will suggest will depend on the knowledge and experience of the inspector, and there has been some controversy about the degree of knowledge and experience necessary for adequate inspection. Plainly it would be no use to send a person who knew nothing about trees. The alternatives put forward were that he should be an expert or that he should have at least such knowledge and experience of trees as a landowner with trees o his land would generally have. As the question depends on what a reasonable man would do I think that it may be put in this way. Would a reasonable and careful owner, without expert knowledge but accustomed to dealing with his trees and having a countryman’s general knowledge about them, think it necessary to call in an expert to advise him or would he think it sufficient to act at lest in the first instance on his own knowledge and judgment? The evidence in this case does not suggest to me that he would, and does not convince me that he should call in an expert. There must be many owners of elm trees beside busy roads and if it were proper for them to seek expert advice I would expect, making every allowance for the facts that not all owners are reasonable and careful and that even reasonable people frequently omit to do what they know they ought to do, that it would appear that expert advice was not infrequently sought. But the evidence in this case does not bear this out.’
Lord Radcliffe raised some questions as to the liability of a tree-owner which he did not finally answer. In the course of his discussion he said: ‘It would be conceded, I believe, that there is somehow a difference between the legal responsibilities of the owner of a mature forest tree, in a built-up area, immediately adjacent to a busy street, and the responsibilities of the owner of a stand of timber bordering a country lane. But is the difference only this, that the latter is entitled to take more chances at the expense of his neighbours than the former? I am not certain of the logic, for a tree or its branch only falls once; and it must be poor consolation to an injured passer-by in the country lane to be assured that the chances were all against his being at the place of the accident at the moment when it occurred.’
Lord Normand said: ‘The Court of Appeal applied what is, I think, the proper test – the conduct to be expected from a reasonable and prudent land-owner – and held on the evidence that the appellants had satisfied this test because there was nothing dangerous in the appearance of the tree, no sign of disease, advanced age, disproportion of crown to stem, or rising roots . . The test of the conduct to be expected from a reasonable and prudent landlord sounds more simple than it really is. For it postulates some degree of knowledge on the part of landlords which must necessarily fall short of the knowledge possessed by scientific arboriculturists but which must surely be greater than the knowledge possessed by the ordinary urban observer of trees or even of the countryman not practically concerned with their care.’

Lord Normand, Lord Porter, Lord Reid, Lord Oaksey, Lord Radcliffe
[1951] AC 88
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedStagecoach South Western Trains Ltd v Hind and Another TCC 11-Jun-2014
A train crash was caused when an ash tree fell from the defendant’s land across the railway line. The company sought damages from the land-owner.
Held: The land-owner’s duty extended no further than the carrying out of periodic informal or . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Negligence

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.526445

Cambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc: Cambridge Water Company v Hutchings and Harding Ltd: CA 19 Nov 1992

The defendants operated a plant using chlorinated solvent chemicals which, over a long period had seeped through the floor of their factory and into the chalk subsoil, eventually polluting the plaintiff’s water supply some mile and half away. The solvent contaminated the water in the borehole, which could not lawfully be supplied as drinking water as it did not comply with regulations issued pursuant to an EEC Directive. It appears that the regulations came into force after the relevant spillage on the defendant’s land but before the contamination of the water in the borehole. The water company appealed against a decision that the company was not liable.
Held: Appeal allowed. Following Ballard, the defendants must be strictly liable for the consequences of allowing the escape of the chemicals.

Times 29-Dec-1992, Independent 27-Jan-1993
England and Wales
Citing:
FollowedBallard v Tomlinson CA 1885
The parties were neighbouring land owners, and each had a deep well. The defendant emptied the sewage from his property into his well, and this polluted also the neighbour’s well. The pollution was actionable. His behaviour appropriated the water . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.188011

Willis and Another v Derwentside District Council: ChD 10 Apr 2013

The claimants sought damages alleging the escape of noxious CO2 gas from the defendant’s neighbouring land. The gas originated from old coal workings.
Held: There had come to be a liability falling in the defendant from 2006. Its delay in dealing with the issue was culpable. However the animals deaths complained of could not be shown to have been attributable to the escaping gas. The Authority had a duty to beep the claimants up to date on theis dangerous and frightening situation, and in the absence of such information, it was reasnable that they should re-imburse the claimants for the costs of their own inquiries.
As a consequence of the gas, the property had been blighted and unsaleable. The authority having completed remedial works should have obtained and supplied the claimants with an appropriate certificate to remove that blight. However given the possibility of such a recourse providing a remedy it would be inappropriate to award immediately the full continuing cost of the blight.

Briggs J
[2013] EWHC 738 (Ch)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedWilson v Waddell HL 1876
In the course of proper mineral workings by the defender, the soil above the coal, which was stiff and impervious to water, so that, whilst it was undisturbed, the greater part of the rainfall flowed away over the surface, was cracked into open . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedPemberton v Mayor and Burgesses of London Borough of Southwark CA 13-Apr-2000
A tenant had continued in occupation as a tolerated trespasser after a possession order. She made regular payments but failed to comply with the order setting terms for suspension. She sought damages from the landlord for nuisance for not dealing . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Damages

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.472533

Sedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan: HL 24 Jun 1940

Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it

A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the plaintiff’s neighbouring land.
Held: The defendants were liable. Though the drain had been placed by a trespasser, they had adopted it. An occupier of land is liable for the continuance of a nuisance created by others if he continues or adopts it. An occupier will be liable for continuing a nuisance created by another person if, with knowledge or presumed knowledge of its existence, he or she fails to take reasonable means to bring it to an end when they had ample time to do so.
Lord Atkin said: ‘For the purpose of ascertaining whether as here the plaintiff can establish a private nuisance I think that nuisance is sufficiently defined as a wrongful interference with another’s enjoyment of his land or premises by the use of land or premises either occupied or in some cases owned by oneself. The occupier or owner is not an insurer; there must be something more than the mere harm done to the neighbour’s property to make the party responsible. Deliberate act or negligence is not an essential ingredient but some degree of personal responsibility is required, which is connoted in my definition of my word ‘use’. This conception is implicit in all the decisions which impose liability only where the defendant has ’caused or continued’ the nuisance.’ and
‘The ground of responsibility is the possession and control of the land from which the nuisance proceeds. The principle has been expressed in the maxim ‘Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas’. This, like most maxims, is not only lacking in definiteness but is also inaccurate. An occupier may make in many ways a use of his land which causes damage to the neighbouring landowners and yet be free from liability . . a useful test is perhaps what is reasonable according to the ordinary uses of mankind living in society, or, more correctly, in a particular society . . Even where he is liable for a nuisance, the redress may fall short of the damage.’
Lord Wright said: ‘A balance has to be maintained between the right of the occupier to do what he likes with his own, and the right of his neighbour not to be interfered with. It is impossible to give any precise or universal formula, but it may broadly be said that a useful test is perhaps what is reasonable according to the ordinary usages of mankind living in society, or more correctly in a particular society. The forms which nuisance may take are protean’ and
‘Though the rule has not been laid down by this House, it has I think been rightly established in the Court of Appeal that an occupier is not prima facie responsible for a nuisance created without his knowledge and consent. If he is to be liable a further condition is necessary, namely, that he had knowledge or means of knowledge, that he knew or should have known of the nuisance in time to correct it and obviate its mischievous effects. The liability for a nuisance is not, at least in modern law, a strict or absolute liability . . [He] may have taken over a nuisance . . or the nuisance may be due a latent defect or to the act of a trespasser, or stranger. Then he is not liable unless he continued or adopted the nuisance, or, more accurately, did not without undue delay remedy it when he became aware of it, or with ordinary and reasonable care should have become aware of it.’
Lord Porter considered the suggestion that the occupier knew only of the possibility that the pipe might become blocked: ‘In a sense this is true, the nuisance is not the existence of the pipe unprotected by a grid but the flooding of the appellant’s garden-flooding which might be repeated at any time of severe rain . . But the respondents had, as I have indicated, or ought to have had knowledge of the danger, and could have prevented the danger if they had acted reasonably. For this I think they were liable – not because they were negligent, though it may be that they were, but for nuisance because with knowledge that a state of things existed which might at any time give rise to a nuisance they took no steps to remedy that state of affairs.’
Maugham V said: ‘In my opinion an occupier of land ‘continues’ a nuisance if with knowledge or presumed knowledge he fails to take any reasonable means to bring it to an end, though with ample time to do so . . He ‘adopts’ it if he makes any use of the erection, building, bank or artificial contrivance which constitutes the nuisance.’ and ‘On the other hand there is no doubt that if an owner of land for his own convenience diverts or interferes with the course of a stream he must take care that the new course provided for it shall be sufficient to prevent mischief from an overflow to his neighbours’ land, and that he will prima facie be liable if such an overflow should take place: Fletcher v Smith (1877) 2 App. Cas. 781; as to which see Greenock Corporation v Caledonian Ry. Co. [1917] A.C. 556. It would be a defence to prove that the overflow was due to a rainfall or a storm so exceptional that it should be regarded as an act of God; no doubt it would also be a defence, subject to a qualification I will mention later, to prove that the overflow was caused by the interference of a trespasser’. And ‘All that is necessary in such a case is to show that the owner or occupier of the land with such a possible cause of nuisance upon it knows or must be taken to know of it. An absentee owner or an occupier oblivious of what is happening under his eyes is in no better position than the man who looks after his property.’

Viscount Maugham, Lord Atkin, Lord Wright, Lord Porter
[1940] AC 880, [1940] 3 All ER 349, [1940] 56 TLR 887, [1940] UKHL 2
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Dissenting judgment ApprovedJob Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors CA 1924
Land next to the canal was used for the deposit of refuse by trespassers. The mound spread until, for a fee, it was dumped also across the canal. It caught fire, and the fire spread toward the canal. By agreement the parties got together to put out . .
CitedTod-Heatley v Benham 1888
What was ‘annoyance’ between neighbours
The court considered how to construe a covenant in a lease ‘nor do or wittingly or willingly cause or suffer to be done any act, matter, or thing in or upon or about the said premises, which shall or may be or grow to the annoyance, nuisance, . .

Cited by:
CitedMowan v London Borough of Wandsworth and Another CA 21-Dec-2000
The claimant tenant sought damages from the landlord and neighbour and fellow tenant for nuisance caused by the neighbour’s aberrant behaviour.
Sir Christopher Staughton said: ‘there is a strong trend in the cases in favour of the landlord who . .
FollowedPride of Derby and Derbyshire Angling Association Ltd v British Celanese Ltd CA 1953
The plaintiff brought an action for nuisance against the local authority for having discharged insufficiently treated effluent into the river Derwent.
Held: The plaintiffs: ‘have a perfectly good cause of action for nuisance, if they can show . .
AppliedTennant Radiant Heat Ltd v Warrington Development Corporation 1988
A property comprised a large building let on fully repairing leases of 22 units. The many rain outlets were allowed to become blocked, and water accumulated above one unit before that part of the roof collapsed. The landlord appealed a finding that . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedGorringe v Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council HL 1-Apr-2004
Statutory Duty Not Extended by Common Law
The claimant sought damages after a road accident. The driver came over the crest of a hill and hit a bus. The road was not marked with any warning as to the need to slow down.
Held: The claim failed. The duty could not be extended to include . .
CitedArscott and others v Coal Authority and Another CA 13-Jul-2004
The defendant had deposited coal wastes. When the river Taff flooded, the spoil heaps diverted the floods to damage the claimants’ homes. They appealed refusal of their claims in nuisance. The judge applied the common enemy rule: ‘an owner or . .
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
CitedAnthony and others v The Coal Authority QBD 28-Jul-2005
The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
AppliedRegina v Shorrock CACD 1993
The defendants used land for an unauthorised ‘acid party’ which caused substantial inconvenience and disruption to neighbours. The defendant denied that he had had the requisite knowledge to be criminally liable.
Held: This was capable of . .
CitedRegina v Rimmington; Regina v Goldstein HL 21-Jul-2005
Common Law – Public Nuisance – Extent
The House considered the elements of the common law offence of public nuisance. One defendant faced accusations of having sent racially offensive materials to individuals. The second was accused of sending an envelope including salt to a friend as a . .
CitedJackson v J H Watson Property Investment Ltd QBD 7-Jan-2008
The tenant claimant held under a 125 year lease of the defendant. A fault in a light well led to water ingress and damage. The fault was in the landlord’s land but not the flat. The tenant alleged a nuisance by the landlords. The landlord replied . .
CitedShine v Tower Hamlets CA 9-Jun-2006
The claimant a nine year old boy had attempted to leap frog a bollard. He was badly injured when it fell. The authority had identified that it was insecure some months earlier. The authority appealed a finding of negligence and breach of statutory . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd (Manchester Division) and Another QBD 17-Feb-2009
The claimant sought damages in nuisance and negligence saying that in constructing a new housing estate, they had altered the land in such a way as to lead to the repeated flooding of their home.
Held: Both the developer and the council were . .
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd (Manchester Division) and Another QBD 17-Feb-2009
The claimant sought damages in nuisance and negligence saying that in constructing a new housing estate, they had altered the land in such a way as to lead to the repeated flooding of their home.
Held: Both the developer and the council were . .
DistinguishedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd and Another CA 16-Jun-2010
The claimants had bought houses from the first defendants, who in turn had bought the land from Rochdale, the second defendants. In preparing the land for construction the first defendants were said to have negligently filled in a drainage culvert . .
CitedAli v The City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council CA 17-Nov-2010
The claimant appealed against rejection of her claim for damages after slipping on a footpath maintainable by the defendant after an accumulation of mud and debris. The claim appeared to be the first under section 130, and the highway authority . .
CitedThornhill and Others v Nationwide Metal Recycling Ltd and Another CA 29-Jul-2011
The appellants challenged a decision that the defendants had ceased to be committing an actionable nuisance after erecting a sound barrier between their metal scrap yard and the claimants’ properties.
Held: The judge had correcly applied the . .
CitedPage Motors v Epsom Borough Council CA 9-Jul-1981
The plaintiffs were lessees of land neighbouring that of the Council. Over several years the council’s land had been occupied by gypsies who, it was said had damaged the plaintiff’s business. Though the Council had obtained a possession order in . .
CitedWillis and Another v Derwentside District Council ChD 10-Apr-2013
The claimants sought damages alleging the escape of noxious CO2 gas from the defendant’s neighbouring land. The gas originated from old coal workings.
Held: There had come to be a liability falling in the defendant from 2006. Its delay in . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
CitedMiller v Jackson CA 6-Apr-1977
The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.186068

Lyons Son and Co v Gulliver: CA 1914

The defendants operated the Palladium theatre. People wanting to attend queued either along the footpath or along the roadway itself in front of the premises from which the plaintiff neighbour carried on its business as lace merchants and wholesale drapers. At trial, the judge had that the people in the queue were marshalled so as to form a stationary crowd standing on the pavement or in the road by the kerbstone in front of the plaintiff’s premises, sometimes as many as five deep. In consequence ‘pedestrians going from or to the plaintiff’s premises had, at the time when the queue was there, to make their way through the crowd forming the queue or go around by the end so as to get inside the queue; and vehicles were prevented, and necessarily prevented, or hindered, from access to the side of the pavement immediately in front of the plaintiff’s premises’.
Held: The obstruction was actionable as a private nuisance by the neighbour, and could be restrained by a private injunction. Queuing such as was found constituted ‘a serious nuisance and annoyance, by which the plaintiffs are specially affected’. That the police had failed to clear the obstruction by regulating the queues was not a defence. Nor was it arguable that potential customers could elbow their way through the crowd, or politely ask them to make way.
The court specifically said that their decision did not mean that a ‘queue is at all times in all places and under all circumstances necessarily a nuisance’.

Cozens-Hardy MR, Swinfen-Eady LJ
[1914] 1 Ch 631, 83 LJ Ch 281
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSmith v Wilson 1905
. .

Cited by:
CitedVanderpant v Mayfair Hotel Co 1930
The plaintiff complained in nuisance that the access to his home had been obstructed by people seeking to use the defendant hotel.
Held: The claim failed. If it was established that the defendant ‘has interfered substantially with the . .
CitedColour Quest Ltd and others v Total Downstream UK Plc and others (Rev 1) ComC 20-Mar-2009
The claim arose when a petrol spillage created a large vapour cloud which exploded causing widespread damage and injury. . .
CitedD Pride and Partners (A Firm) and Others v Institute for Animal Health and Others QBD 31-Mar-2009
The claimants sought damages after the loss of business when the defendants’ premises were the source of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The organism had escaped from their premises via a broken drain.
Held: Much of the damage claimed . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.190010

Coventry and Others v Lawrence and Another: SC 26 Feb 2014

C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s appeal succeeded. C, but not the freeholder were liable in nuisance. In the light of the relevant principles, practical considerations and judicial dicta, it is possible to obtain by prescription a right to commit what would otherwise be a nuisance by noise, or, to put it another way, to transmit sound waves over neighbouring land. However, time does not run for the purposes of prescription unless the activities of the owner (or occupier) of the putative dominant land can be objected to by the owner of the putative servient land.
The notion that an easement can only be acquired by prescription if the activity concerned is carried on ‘as of right’ for 20 years, ie nec vi, nec clam, nec precario, would seem to carry with it the assumption that it would not assist the putative dominant owner if the activity was carried on ‘of right’ for 20 years, as no question of force, stealth or permission could apply.
It is no defence for a defendant who is sued in nuisance to contend that the claimant came to the nuisance, although it may well be a defence, at least in some circumstances, for a defendant to contend that, as it is only because the claimant has changed the use of, or built on, her land that the defendant’s pre-existing activity is claimed to have become a nuisance, the claim should fail.
‘there appears to be an element of circularity in the notion that, when assessing the character of the locality, one has to ignore the defendant’s activities if, or to the extent that, they constitute a nuisance, given that the point one is ultimately seeking to decide is whether the defendant’s activities amount to a nuisance However, it seems to me that there should be no real problem in this connection In many cases, it is fairly clear whether or not a defendant’s activities constitute a nuisance once one has established the facts, and nice questions as to the precise identification of the locality or its character do not have to be addressed In those cases where the precise character of the locality is of importance, the point should not cause much difficulty either In this case, for example, the question for the judge was the extent to which the noise levels from the Stadium and the Track were or would be acceptable in what was a sparsely populated area, with a couple of small villages and a military airfield between a mile and two miles away, and he answered it by taking the noise levels at other well-established racing circuits elsewhere in the country.’
As to the relevance of the existence of a planning permission: ‘The grant of planning permission for a particular use is potentially relevant to a nuisance claim in two ways First, the grant, or terms and conditions, of a planning permission may permit the very noise (or other disturbance) which is alleged by the claimant to constitute a nuisance In such a case, the question is the extent, if any, to which the planning permission can be relied on as a defence to the nuisance claim Secondly, the grant, or terms and conditions, of a planning permission may permit the defendant’s property or another property in the locality to be used for a certain purpose, so that the question is how far that planning permission can be relied on by the defendant as changing the character of the locality.’ and ‘The grant of planning permission for a particular development does not mean that that development is lawful. All it means is that a bar to the use imposed by planning law, in the public interest, has been removed. Logically, it might be argued, the grant of planning permission for a particular activity in 1985 or 2002 should have no more bearing on a claim that that activity causes a nuisance than the fact that the same activity could have occurred in the 19th century without any permission would have had on a nuisance claim in those days . . the mere fact that the activity which is said to give rise to the nuisance has the benefit of a planning permission is normally of no assistance to the defendant in a claim brought by a neighbour who contends that the activity cause a nuisance to her land in the form of noise or other loss of amenity.’

Lord Neuberger, President, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath
[2014] UKSC 13, [2014] 2 P andCR 2, [2014] 2 All ER 622, [2014] BLR 271, [2014] HLR 21, [2014] Env LR 25, [2014] 1 AC 822, 152 Con LR 1, [2014] 2 WLR 433, [2014] PTSR 384, UKSC 2012/0076
Bailii, Bailii Summary, SC Summary, SC
Planning Act 2008, Chancery Amendment Act 1858
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromCoventry (T/A RDC Promotions and Another v Lawrence and Others CA 27-Feb-2012
The appellants, owners of a motor sport racing circuit, appealed against a finding that their activities constituted a nuisance, given that they had planning permissions for the use.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The judge had erred in holding . .
CitedBamford v Turnley 2-Jul-1862
The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment . .
CitedSturges v Bridgman CA 1879
The character of the neighbourhood in which the plaintiff lives should, for the law of nuisance, include established features: ‘whether anything is a nuisance or not is a question to be determined, not merely by an abstract consideration of the . .
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
At first instanceLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others QBD 4-Mar-2011
The claimants had complained that motor-cycle and other racing activities on neighbouring lands were a noise nuisance, but the court also considered that agents of the defendants had sought to intimidate the claimants into not pursuing their action. . .
CitedThe Lyttelton Times Company Limited v Warners Limited PC 31-Jul-1907
(New Zealand) Premises had been leased for use as a printing house, including printing plant and machinery, and the landlords occupied the upper floors for use as bedrooms for their hotel. The landlords then sought an injunction and damages in . .
CitedPwllbach Colliery Co v Woodman HL 1915
Whether an easement may be created by implication depends on the circumstances under which it is said to have been made. The law implies a grant of such easements as may be necessary to give effect to the common intention of the parties to a grant . .
CitedLewis, Regina (on The Application of) v Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Another SC 3-Mar-2010
The claimants sought to have land belonging to the council registered as a village green to prevent it being developed. They said that it had for more than twenty years been used by the community for various sports. The council replied that it had . .
CitedBliss v Hall 17-Jan-1838
To an action of nuisance for carrying on the business of a tallow chandler, in a messuage adjoining the messuage of the Plaintiff, it is no plea that the Defendant was possessed of his messuage, and the business was carried on, before the Plaintiff . .
CitedMcAdams Homes Ltd v Robinson and Another CA 27-Feb-2004
The defendant blocked the line of a sewer. The claimant alleged that it had an easement and sought the cost of building the alternative pipe. The question to be answered was ‘Where an easement is granted by implication on the sale of a property, . .
CitedCarr v Foster 1842
The plaintiff claimed a profit a prendre saying had been acquired under s.1 of the 1832 Act, by use for 30 years, the applicable period in relation to a profit a prendre. The evidence was that the right in question, to pasture cattle on a common, . .
CitedSt Helen’s Smelting Co v Tipping HL 1865
The defendant built a factory, from which the escaping chemical fumes damaged local trees.
Held: The defendant was liable even though the smelting was an ordinary business carried on properly, and even though the district surrounding was . .
CitedCrump v Lambert CA 1867
Lord Romilly MR considered the acquisition of a right to commit a nuisance by prescription.
Held: An injunction was granted to restrain the issue of smoke and noise. He said: ‘It is true that, by lapse of time, if the owner of the adjoining . .
CitedLeeds v Shakerley 1599
In an action for diverting a water-course from one of three mills, on not guilty, the ven. Fac. shall be where the nuisance was done, sed aliter on a prescription; but a seisin of the mill at the time of the nuisance must be shewn. . .
CitedLondon, Brighton and South Coast Railway Co v Truman 1885
Lord Halsbury LC described the idea that it was a defence to nuisance to say that the plaintiff came to it as an ‘old notion . . long since exploded’ . .
CitedFleming v Hislop HL 1886
Lord Halsbury LC said that ‘whether the man went to the nuisance or the nuisance came to the man, the rights are the same’ . .
CitedRushmer v Polsue and Alfieri Limited CA 1906
The court considered the question of whether excess noise could constitute a nuisance.
Held: The court rejected the argument that a resident of a district specially devoted to a particular trade cannot complained of nuisance by noise caused by . .
CitedPolsue and Alfieri v Rushmer HL 1907
The House approved a decision that a person purchasing property in an industrial district may be unable to claim for noise nuisance. Lord Loreburn LC said that (i) whether an activity gives rise to a nuisance may depend on the character of the . .
CitedMiller v Jackson CA 6-Apr-1977
The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of . .
CitedKennaway v Thompson CA 30-Apr-1980
The plaintiff’s property adjoined the defendant’s boating lake over which the defendant had, over several years, come to run more and more motor boat sports events. The trial judge had found that the noise created by the racing was an actionable . .
CitedAndreae v Selfridge and Co Ltd CA 1938
The plaintiff had a hotel. The rest of the island had been acquired by the defendant which was demolishing and rebuilding the other properties. The plaintiff complained, and the judge found, that by reason of the operations, which involved noise and . .
CitedGillingham Borough Council v Medway (Chatham) Dock Co Ltd 1992
The grant of planning permission does not of itself sanction or otherwise endorse an activity which is causing a nuisance to neighbouring properties. Buckley J said: ‘If a planning authority grants permission for a particular construction or use in . .
CitedWheeler and Another v JJ Saunders Ltd and Others CA 19-Dec-1994
The existence of a planning permission did not excuse the causing of a nuisance by the erection of a pighouse. The permission was not a statutory authority, and particularly so where it was possible it had been procured by the supply of inaccurate . .
CitedWatson and others v Croft Promo-Sport Ltd CA 26-Jan-2009
The claimants were neighbours of the Croft motor racing circuit. They alleged nuisance in the levels of noise emanating from the site. The defendants denied nuisance saying that the interference was deemed reasonable since they operated within the . .
CitedHirose Electrical UK Ltd v Peak Ingredients Ltd CA 11-Aug-2011
The claimant appealed against dismissal of its claim in nuisance. The parties occupied adjoining units on an industrial estate. The defendant’s business generated odour which, the wall between them being permeable, passed into the claimant’s office . .
ApprovedBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd (No 3) TCC 19-Apr-2011
The claimants sought damages in nuisance saying that the defendant’s waster recycling plant was causing odorous pollution of their nearby homes. . .
CitedShelfer v City of London Electric Lighting Company, Meux’s Brewery Co v Same CA 1895
The plaintiff sought damages and an injunction for nuisance by noise and vibration which was causing structural injury to a public house.
Held: The court set out the rules for when a court should not grant an injunction for an infringement of . .
CitedColls v Home and Colonial Stores Ltd HL 2-May-1904
The courts below had concluded that the defendant had infringed the plaintiff’s right to light, and had awarded an injunction.
Held: the appeal succeeded. The House set out the requirements for establishing the existence of a right to light. . .
CitedKine v Jolly CA 1905
The court refused an injunction in respect of an infringement of the right to light to a dwelling house, restricting the plaintiff to a remedy in damages. Cozens-Hardy LJ: ‘I think it is impossible to doubt that the tendency of the speeches in the . .
CitedSlack v Leeds Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd CA 1924
Nothing in Colls served to undermine the ‘good working rule’ of A L Smith LJ in Shelfer, although they discharged a quia timet injunction and ordered an inquiry as to damages . .
CitedRegan v Paul Properties Ltd and others CA 26-Oct-2006
The court considered the appropriate remedy after a finding of infringement of a right to light, and in particular: ‘whether the proper remedy for infringement in this case is damages for nuisance, as ordered by the court below, or whether a . .
CitedFishenden v Higgs and Hill Ltd CA 1935
An injunction had been refused an injunction in respect of an infringement of an easement of light and awarded damages in lieu, even though the damages would be substantial because it had been shown that the plaintiff was plainly ‘only wanting . .
ApprovedJaggard v Sawyer and Another CA 18-Jul-1994
Recovery of damages after Refusal of Injunction
The plaintiff appealed against the award of damages instead of an injunction aftter the County court had found the defendant to have trespassed on his land by a new building making use of a private right of way.
Held: The appeal failed.
CitedCo-Operative Insurance Society Ltd v Argyll Stores (Holdings) Ltd CA 29-Dec-1995
A ‘keep open’ clause in a commercial lease can be enforced by an order specific performance but only in rare cases. It would normally be unreasonable.
Millett LJ said: ‘The competing arguments in the present case, and the difference in the . .
CitedCo-Operative Insurance Society Ltd v Argyll Stores HL 21-May-1997
The tenants of a unit on a large shopping centre found the business losing money, and closed it in contravention of a ‘keep open’ clause in the lease. They now appealed from a mandatory injunction requiring them to keep the store open.
Held: . .
CitedLewis, Regina (on The Application of) v Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Another SC 3-Mar-2010
The claimants sought to have land belonging to the council registered as a village green to prevent it being developed. They said that it had for more than twenty years been used by the community for various sports. The council replied that it had . .
CitedMunro v Southern Dairies 18-Apr-1955
(Victoria) Nuisance – Horses kept on dairy premises without proper stabling – Interference with use and enjoyment of neighbouring premises – Loss of sleep by neighbouring occupier as a result thereof – Whether reasonable’ use of the premises or . .
CitedHalsey v Esso Petroleum Co Ltd 1961
A plaintiff who has standing to sue, including a member of the household of the landowner, should be entitled to recover in nuisance for damage to chattels.
Veale J started from the position of the ‘ordinary man’ in considering whether an . .
CitedBank of New Zealand v Greenwood 14-Dec-1983
High Court – New Zealand. The glass roof of a verandah which deflected the sun’s rays so that a dazzling glare was thrown on to neighbouring buildings was held, prima facie, to create a nuisance. Hardie Boys J said: ‘To the extent that this is an . .
CitedGillingham Borough Council v Medway (Chatham) Dock Co Ltd 1992
The grant of planning permission does not of itself sanction or otherwise endorse an activity which is causing a nuisance to neighbouring properties. Buckley J said: ‘If a planning authority grants permission for a particular construction or use in . .
CitedFarley v Skinner HL 11-Oct-2001
The claimant sought damages from the defendant surveyor. He had asked the defendant whether the house he was to buy was subject to aircraft noise. After re-assurance, he bought the house. The surveyor was wrong and negligent. A survey would not . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .

Cited by:
Principal judgmentCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another (No 2) SC 23-Jul-2014
Consequential judgment. Mr Coventry had been found liable in the principle judgment in nuisance to the appellant neighbours. The Court was now asked as to several matters arising. First, to what extent were the defendants’ landlords liable to the . .
Principal judgmentCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 22-Jul-2015
The appellants challenged the compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights of the system for recovery of costs in civil litigation in England and Wales following the passing of the Access to Justice Act 1999. The parties had been . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Planning

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.521989

Thornhill and Others v Nationwide Metal Recycling Ltd and Another: CA 29 Jul 2011

The appellants challenged a decision that the defendants had ceased to be committing an actionable nuisance after erecting a sound barrier between their metal scrap yard and the claimants’ properties.
Held: The judge had correcly applied the law, and had not confused the nature of the nuisance (damage to property) with the causing of personal discomfort. The appeal failed.

Ward, Tomlinson LJJ, Sir Henry Brooke
[2011] EWCA Civ 919
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedWalter v Selfe 1851
The burning of bricks on he defendant’s land was a nuisance to the plaintiff’s neighbouring house. An injunction was granted. The court should ask: ‘ought this inconvenience to be considered in fact as more than fanciful, more than one of mere . .
CitedBolton v Stone KBD 1949
The plaintiff was hit by a cricket ball hit from a cricket ground, and sought damages.
Oliver J described the balancing exercise required in nuisance cases: ‘Whether such an act does constitute a nuisance must be determined not merely by an . .
CitedSturges v Bridgman CA 1879
The character of the neighbourhood in which the plaintiff lives should, for the law of nuisance, include established features: ‘whether anything is a nuisance or not is a question to be determined, not merely by an abstract consideration of the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.442423

Attorney General v Cory Brothers and Co Ltd: HL 1921

The defendant colliers placed waste from the mine in a huge heap. Rain cause the heap to slip, damaging nearby properties. the landslide in question was of what counsel described as an ‘enormous mass of rubbish’, some 500,000 tons of mineral waste tipped on a steep hillside.
Held: The case fell within Rylands, and the defendants were liable for damage caused by the escape of the spoil, and without evidence of negligence. Any licence to deposit waste did not allow any negligent system for such deposits.
As to the basis of liability, Viscount Haldane said: ‘For if such rainfall as could make this enormous heap of stuff slide was a possible occurrence, it was negligent to put it there without taking adequate precautions to secure its stability. The liability may be based on actual negligence, as I have just suggested, or it may be established merely by showing that the hillside was steep, and that to pile rubbish on it in a large heap was to put a dangerous [later described as artificial] structure there, which was so put at the risk of the company should damage result. The line of demarcation between the proof of negligence and the proof of what is necessary to bring such a case within the well known principle of Rylands v. Fletcher is but a faint one in such circumstances as we are now considering.’

Viscount Haldane
[1921] 1 AC 521, (19210) 90 LJ Ch 221, (19210) 125 LT 98, (19210) 85 JP 129, (19210) 37 TLR 343, (19210) 19 LGR 145
England and Wales
Citing:
AppliedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedAnthony and others v The Coal Authority QBD 28-Jul-2005
The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.188015

Lawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others: QBD 4 Mar 2011

The claimants had complained that motor-cycle and other racing activities on neighbouring lands were a noise nuisance, but the court also considered that agents of the defendants had sought to intimidate the claimants into not pursuing their action. The defendants argued that the properties were in any event noisy because of proximity to RAF Mildenhall.
Held: A nuisance had been committed. The landlords of the properties were dismissed form the main action. The claimants had shown nothing to suggest that they had done anything to adopt any noise nuisance by their tenants. Several activities had been operated over the years with and without planning permissions, but the permissions could not be said to have altered the character of the area.
The law does not recognise an easement of noise, or an easement only exercisable between certain times of the day or on a limited number of occasions in the year. The prescription defence failed.
An injunction should be granted (in terms yet to be agreed), specific enough to avoid future difficulties, and damages awarded.
Though there had been intimidation, there was no evidence at all to connect any of the defendants with any act of intimidation. The claimants had failed to establish any entitlement to aggravated damages.

Richard Seymour QC J
[2011] EWHC 360 (QB), [2011] 4 All ER 1314
Bailii
Prescription Act 1832
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRich v Basterfield 5-Feb-1846
A landlord can be liable in nuisance for the acts of his tenant where the very nature of the letting would lead to that nuisance: ‘If a landlord lets premises, not in themselves a nuisance, but which may or may not be used by the tenant so as to . .
CitedLippiatt and Febry v South Gloucestershire County Council CA 31-Mar-1999
The defendant had failed to remove travellers who had encamped on its land and caused nuisances against neighbouring farmers.
Held: The court refused to strike out a claim in nuisance by neighbouring land owners. It was arguable that a land . .
CitedSturges v Bridgman CA 1879
The character of the neighbourhood in which the plaintiff lives should, for the law of nuisance, include established features: ‘whether anything is a nuisance or not is a question to be determined, not merely by an abstract consideration of the . .
CitedSouthwark London Borough Council v Mills/Tanner; Baxter v Camden London Borough Council HL 21-Oct-1999
Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .
CitedDalton v Henry Angus and Co HL 14-Jun-1881
The court explained the doctrine of lost modern grant. Where there has been more than 20 years’ uninterrupted enjoyment of an easement, and that enjoyment has the necessary qualities to fulfil the requirements of prescription, then unless, for some . .
CitedTehidy Minerals Ltd v Norman CA 1971
The fact that land had been requisitioned by the Ministry of Agriculture between 1941 and 1960 and the 20-odd years’ user relied on as having created the rights had preceded 1941 was a bar to a prescriptive claim to grazing rights under the . .
CitedWheeler and Another v JJ Saunders Ltd and Others CA 19-Dec-1994
The existence of a planning permission did not excuse the causing of a nuisance by the erection of a pighouse. The permission was not a statutory authority, and particularly so where it was possible it had been procured by the supply of inaccurate . .
CitedGillingham Borough Council v Medway (Chatham) Dock Co Ltd CA 1992
Neighbours complained at the development of a new commercial port on the site of a disused naval dockyard. Heavy vehicle traffic at night had a seriously deleterious effect on the comfort of local residents.
Held: Although a planning consent . .
CitedAllen v Gulf Oil Refining Ltd CA 1980
The exercise of the permission to develop granted by the local planning authority may have the result that the character of the neighbourhood changes and that which would previously have been a nuisance must be held no longer to be so
CitedElliotson v Feetham And Another 10-Jun-1835
The plaintiff complained of nuisance from smoke and noise generated by the defendant in adjacent workshops used for the making of iron. The defendant pleaded that he had been in occupation of his workshops for ten years before the plaintiff acquired . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedMills and Another v Silver and others CA 1991
A farm’s only vehicular access was over land which was only useable occasionally when dry. The defendants laid a stone track to facilitate constant access. At first instance it was held that the earlier use had been too intermittent to allow a . .
CitedCrump v Lambert CA 1867
Lord Romilly MR considered the acquisition of a right to commit a nuisance by prescription.
Held: An injunction was granted to restrain the issue of smoke and noise. He said: ‘It is true that, by lapse of time, if the owner of the adjoining . .
CitedCarr v Foster 1842
The plaintiff claimed a profit a prendre saying had been acquired under s.1 of the 1832 Act, by use for 30 years, the applicable period in relation to a profit a prendre. The evidence was that the right in question, to pasture cattle on a common, . .
CitedPerlman v Rayden, Rayden ChD 7-Oct-2004
The parties had become embroiled in a particularly bitter boundary dispute. The claimants in particular sought aggravated damages saying that the defendants had misled them in securing agreement to works.
Held: Aggravated damages were awarded. . .
CitedRookes v Barnard (No 1) HL 21-Jan-1964
The court set down the conditions for the award of exemplary damages. There are two categories. The first is where there has been oppressive or arbitrary conduct by a defendant. Cases in the second category are those in which the defendant’s conduct . .
CitedCassell and Co Ltd v Broome and Another HL 23-Feb-1972
Exemplary Damages Award in Defamation
The plaintiff had been awarded damages for defamation. The defendants pleaded justification. Before the trial the plaintiff gave notice that he wanted additional, exemplary, damages. The trial judge said that such a claim had to have been pleaded. . .
AppliedDobson and others v Thames Water Utilities Ltd and Another CA 29-Jan-2009
The claimants complained of odours and mosquitoes affecting their properties from the activities of the defendants in the conduct of their adjoining Sewage Treatment plant. The issue was as to the rights of non title holders to damages in nuisance . .
See AlsoLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others QBD 18-Oct-2010
Application to strike out passages from witness statements. . .
See AlsoLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others QBD 18-Oct-2010
The court made orders to assist the future management of the case. . .

Cited by:
CitedMerthyr Tydfil Car Auction Ltd v Thomas and Another CA 11-Jul-2013
The company appealed against an award of 9,000 pounds for nuisance in the form of excessive noise and fumes.
Held: The appeal failed: ‘the grant of planning permission cannot authorise the commission of a nuisance but it may, following its . .
Appeal fromCoventry (T/A RDC Promotions and Another v Lawrence and Others CA 27-Feb-2012
The appellants, owners of a motor sport racing circuit, appealed against a finding that their activities constituted a nuisance, given that they had planning permissions for the use.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The judge had erred in holding . .
At first instanceCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .
Appeal fromLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others CA 2012
Jackson LJ set out the way in which planning consents would affect whether actions amounted to a nuisance: ‘I would summarise the law which is relevant to the first ground of appeal in four propositions. (i) A planning authority by the grant of . .
See AlsoCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 22-Jul-2015
The appellants challenged the compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights of the system for recovery of costs in civil litigation in England and Wales following the passing of the Access to Justice Act 1999. The parties had been . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Nuisance, Torts – Other

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.430320

Miller v Jackson: CA 6 Apr 1977

The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of cricket balls landing in their gardens. The defendant appealed.
Held: A factor to be taken into account was that the plaintiffs had purchased their properties knowing of the club. That could constitute the exceptional circumstances allowing the court to use its discretion not to award an injunction.
Lord Denning MR, dissenting, said: ‘In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone. Nearly every village has its own cricket field where the young men play and the old men watch. In the village of Lintz in County Durham they have their own ground, where they have played these last 70 years. They tend it well. The wicket area is well rolled and mown. The outfield is kept short . . [y]et now after these 70 years a judge of the High Court has ordered that they must not play there anymore . . [h]e has done it at the instance of a newcomer who is no lover of cricket.
This newcomer has built . . a house on the edge of the cricket ground which four years ago was a field where cattle grazed. The animals did not mind the cricket.’ If the injunction were upheld, cricket would cease in the village and ‘the young men will turn to other things . .’ The public interest in the playing of cricket should prevail over the individual interests of the householders, and, instead of the injunction, he awarded andpound;400 for past and future inconvenience. He went on to answer with a resounding no his own rhetorical (in both senses of the word) question whether this was ‘all to be rendered useless to them by the thoughtless and selfish act of an estate developer in building right up to the edge of it?’
Geoffrey Lane LJ (with whom Cumming-Bruce LJ agreed) concluded that the claim in nuisance was made out. He accepted, albeit with some regret, that it was not for the Court of Appeal ‘to alter a rule which has stood for so long’, namely ‘that it is no answer to a claim in nuisance for the defendant to show that the plaintiff brought the trouble on his own head by building or coming to live in a house so close to the defendant’s premises that he would inevitably be affected by the defendant’s activities, where no one had been affected previously’

Geoffrey Lane, Cumming Bruce LJJ, Denning MR
[1977] 1 QB 966, [1977] 3 All ER 338, [1977] EWCA Civ 6
Bailii
Chancery Amendment Act 1858 (Lord Cairns’ Act)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedImperial Gas Light and Coke Company v Broadbent HL 4-Aug-1859
If a Plaintiff applies for an injunction in respect of a violation of a common law right, and the existence of that right, or the fact of its violation is denied, he must establish his right at law, but having done that, he is, except under special . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher CEC 1865
Mr Fletcher’s Lancashire coal mine was flooded by the water from Mr Rylands’ mill reservoir in 1860-61.
Held: Mr Rylands was responsible. Blackburn J said: ‘We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings . .
CitedSturges v Bridgman CA 1879
The character of the neighbourhood in which the plaintiff lives should, for the law of nuisance, include established features: ‘whether anything is a nuisance or not is a question to be determined, not merely by an abstract consideration of the . .
CitedShelfer v City of London Electric Lighting Company, Meux’s Brewery Co v Same CA 1895
The plaintiff sought damages and an injunction for nuisance by noise and vibration which was causing structural injury to a public house.
Held: The court set out the rules for when a court should not grant an injunction for an infringement of . .
CitedBrowne v Flower 1911
With regard to the landlord’s covenant for quiet enjoyment, Parker J said: ‘to constitute a breach of such a covenant there must be some physical interference with the enjoyment of the demised premises, and that a mere interference with the comfort . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedBolton v Stone HL 10-May-1951
The plaintiff was injured by a prodigious and unprecedented hit of a cricket ball over a distance of 100 yards. He claimed damages in negligence.
Held: When looking at the duty of care the court should ask whether the risk was not so remote . .
CitedLatimer v AEC Limited HL 25-Jun-1953
The Appellant had recovered damages for injuries which he alleged had been the result of a failure on the part of the Respondents in their statutory duty to maintain one of the gangways in their works in an efficient state. He slipped on a factory . .
CitedOverseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Morts Dock and Engineering Co Ltd (The Wagon Mound No 1) PC 18-Jan-1961
Foreseeability Standard to Establish Negligence
Complaint was made that oil had been discharged into Sydney Harbour causing damage. The court differentiated damage by fire from other types of physical damage to property for the purposes of liability in tort, saying ‘We have come back to the plain . .
CitedLetang v Cooper CA 15-Jun-1964
The plaintiff, injured in an accident, pleaded trespass to the person, which was not a breach of duty within the proviso to the section, in order to achieve the advantages of a six-year limitation period.
Held: Trespass is strictly speaking . .
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .

Cited by:
CitedWorld Wide Fund for Nature (Formerly World Wildlife Fund), World Wildlife Fund Incorporated v World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Incorporated – Intervener Jakks Pacific Llc CA 27-Mar-2003
. .
DoubtedKennaway v Thompson CA 30-Apr-1980
The plaintiff’s property adjoined the defendant’s boating lake over which the defendant had, over several years, come to run more and more motor boat sports events. The trial judge had found that the noise created by the racing was an actionable . .
CitedSmithkline Beecham Plc Glaxosmithkline UK Ltd and Another v Apotex Europe Ltd and others (No 2) CA 23-May-2006
The parties to the action had given cross undertakings to support the grant of an interim injunction. A third party subsequently applied to be joined, and now sought to take advantage of the cross undertakings to claim the losses incurred through . .
CitedVarious Claimants v The Catholic Child Welfare Society and Others CA 26-Oct-2010
Child sexual abuse was alleged by 150 claimants against staff members of a community home with teachers supplied by the defendants. The court had asked whether they had vicarious liability for the acts of their staff, and now whether the board of . .
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Nuisance, Negligence

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.180311

Goldman v Hargrave: PC 13 Jun 1966

(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would burn itself out. The fire spread to neighbouring property.
Held: An occupier of land is under a general duty of care in relation to hazards, whether natural or man-made, occurring on his land to remove or reduce such hazards to his neighbour. The existence of the duty is based on the knowledge of the hazard, the ability to foresee the consequences of not checking or removing it and the ability to abate it by taking reasonable measures. Risks such as the spread of fire are not ones which, without more, call for the imposition of any risk based liability; liability if any must be based upon some antecedent creation of risk or some subsequent fault.
Lord Wilberforce said: ‘the tort of nuisance, uncertain in its boundary, may comprise a wide variety of situations, in some of which negligence plays no part, in others of which it is decisive’. And ‘one may say in general terms that the existence of a duty must be based upon a hazard, ability to foresee the consequences of not checking or not removing it, and the ability to abate it.’
The occupier here was in breach of his duty of care for failing to extinguish a fire which had started by natural causes. The defendant was found to be negligent because he chose not to put the fire out, but to let it burn itself out instead. This erroneous decision allowed a wind to revive the fire which then spread to the plaintiff’s property.
In the case of fire there was no difference between a fire that started from natural causes and one that had been started by human agency. Lord Wilberforce said: ‘Their Lordships would first observe, with regard to the suggested distinction, that it is well designed to introduce confusion into the law. As regards many hazardous conditions arising on land, it is impossible to determine how they arose – particularly is this the case as regards fires. If they are caused by human agency, the agent, unless detected in flagrante delicto, is hardly likely to confess his fault. And is the occupier, when faced with the initial stages of a fire, to ask himself whether the fire is accidental or man-made before he can decide upon his duty? Is the neighbour whose property is damaged bound to prove the human origin of the fire? The proposition involves that if he cannot do so, however irresponsibly the occupier has acted, he must fail. But the distinction is not only inconvenient, it lacks, in their Lordships’ view, any logical foundation.
Within the class of situations in which the occupier is himself without responsibility for the origin of the fire, one may ask in vain what relevant difference there is between a fire caused by a human agency, such as a trespasser, and one caused by act of God or nature. A difference in degree – as to the potency of the agency – one can see but none that is in principle relevant to the occupier’s duty to act. It was suggested as a logical basis for the distinction that in the case of a hazard originating in an act of man, an occupier who fails to deal with it can be said to be using his land in a manner detrimental to his neighbour and so to be within the classical field of responsibility in nuisance, whereas this cannot be said when the hazard originates without human action so long at least as the occupier merely abstains. The fallacy of this argument is that, as already explained, the basis of the occupier’s liability lies not in the use of his land: in the absence of ‘adoption’ there is no such use; but in the neglect of action in the face of something which may damage his neighbour. To this, the suggested distinction is irrelevant.’

Wilberforce, Perason, Morris of Borth-y-Gest, Reid LL
[1967] 1 AC 645, [1966] 3 WLR 513, [1966] 2 All ER 989, [1966] UKPC 2, [1966] UKPC 12
Bailii, Bailii
Australia
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

Cited by:
CitedThames Water Utilities Limited v Marcic CA 7-Feb-2002
The claimant owned land over which sewage and other water had spilled from the appellant’s sewage works. His claim having been dismissed under Rylands v Fletcher, and there being no statutory means of obtaining compensation, the judge was asked to . .
CitedBritish Railways Board v Herrington HL 16-Feb-1972
Land-owner’s Possible Duty to Trespassers
The plaintiff, a child had gone through a fence onto the railway line, and been badly injured. The Board knew of the broken fence, but argued that they owed no duty to a trespasser.
Held: Whilst a land-owner owes no general duty of care to a . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited HL 4-Dec-2003
The claimant’s house was regularly flooded by waters including also foul sewage from the respondent’s neighbouring premises. He sought damages and an injunction. The defendants sought to restrict the claimant to his statutory rights.
Held: The . .
CitedSmith v Littlewoods Organisation Limited (Chief Constable, Fife Constabulary, third party); Maloco v Littlewoods Organisation Ltd HL 1987
The defendant acquired a semi derelict cinema with a view to later development of the site. A fire started by others spread to the pursuer’s adjoining property.
Held: The defendants were not liable in negligence. The intervention of a third . .
CitedOverseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Miller Steamship Co Pty (The Wagon Mound) (No 2) PC 25-May-1966
(New South Wales) When considering the need to take steps to avoid injury, the court looked to the nature of defendant’s activity. There was no social value or cost saving in this defendant’s activity. ‘In the present case there was no justification . .
CitedGabriel v Kirklees Metropolitan Council CA 24-Mar-2004
The claimant (aged 6) sought damages after being hurt when other children playing on a building site threw stones from the site, hitting him as he passed by.
Held: The case raised questions of law and it was incumbent on the judge to provide . .
CitedGorringe v Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council HL 1-Apr-2004
Statutory Duty Not Extended by Common Law
The claimant sought damages after a road accident. The driver came over the crest of a hill and hit a bus. The road was not marked with any warning as to the need to slow down.
Held: The claim failed. The duty could not be extended to include . .
CitedStockley v Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council CA 1986
A council owned a two-storey building divided into four flats, one of which was occupied by the plaintiff. It failed to prevent frozen water pipes in the roof of the building (which was outside the demise to the plaintiff) from bursting and flooding . .
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd (Manchester Division) and Another QBD 17-Feb-2009
The claimant sought damages in nuisance and negligence saying that in constructing a new housing estate, they had altered the land in such a way as to lead to the repeated flooding of their home.
Held: Both the developer and the council were . .
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd and Another CA 16-Jun-2010
The claimants had bought houses from the first defendants, who in turn had bought the land from Rochdale, the second defendants. In preparing the land for construction the first defendants were said to have negligently filled in a drainage culvert . .
CitedPage Motors v Epsom Borough Council CA 9-Jul-1981
The plaintiffs were lessees of land neighbouring that of the Council. Over several years the council’s land had been occupied by gypsies who, it was said had damaged the plaintiff’s business. Though the Council had obtained a possession order in . .
DeterminativeStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedStagecoach South Western Trains Ltd v Hind and Another TCC 11-Jun-2014
A train crash was caused when an ash tree fell from the defendant’s land across the railway line. The company sought damages from the land-owner.
Held: The land-owner’s duty extended no further than the carrying out of periodic informal or . .
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
CitedMiller v Jackson CA 6-Apr-1977
The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Negligence

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.179685

Malone v Laskey: CA 1907

A company’s manager resided in a house as its licensee. His wife was injured when a bracket fell from a wall in the house. She claimed damages from the defendants in nuisance and negligence. The claim in nuisance alleged that the fall of the bracket had been caused by vibrations from an engine operating on the defendants’ adjoining premises.
Held: Her claim in nuisance failed.
Sir Gorell Barnes P said: ‘The main question, however, on this part of the case is whether the plaintiff can maintain this action on the ground of vibration causing the damage complained of, and in my opinion the plaintiff has no cause of action upon that ground. Many cases were cited in the course of the argument in which it had been held that actions for nuisance could be maintained where a person’s rights of property had been affected by the nuisance, but no authority was cited, nor in my opinion can any principle of law be formulated, to the effect that a person who has no interest in property, no right of occupation in the proper sense of the term, can maintain an action for a nuisance arising from the vibration caused by the working of an engine in an adjoining house. On that point, therefore, I think that the plaintiff fails, and that she has no cause of action in respect of the alleged nuisance.’ Fletcher Moulton LJ: ‘So far as the plaintiff’s case is based upon nuisance, the contention on her behalf appears to me to be supported by no authority. Witherby and Co. were the tenants and occupiers of these premises, and if the premises had been injured or the enjoyment of them interfered with by the vibration it was open to them to take any one of three courses–they might come to the courts for an injunction to stop the vibration, or they might simply have tolerated it, or they might have authorised its continuance either gratuitously or for a valuable consideration. A person in the position of the plaintiff, who was in the premises as a mere licensee, had no right to dictate to Witherby and Co. which course they should take, and they seem to have voluntarily permitted the vibration to continue. Indeed, if it is permissible to conjecture, I have very little doubt that the proximity of the engine was by no means an unmixed evil to them, for it may well have affected the amount of rent paid by them for the premises. But, whether that be so or not, it was a matter entirely for the tenant, and a person who is merely present in the house cannot complain of a nuisance which has in it no element of a public nuisance.’

Sir Gorell Barnes P, Fletcher Moulton LJ
[1907] 2 KB 141
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
AppliedMetropolitan Properties v Jones 1939
The defendant had been tenant of one of the plaintiffs’ flats but had assigned his lease. The assignee disappeared and the tenant, who as original lessee remained liable for the rent, went back into possession. In response to an action for rent, he . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.190018

Rylands v Fletcher: CEC 1865

Mr Fletcher’s Lancashire coal mine was flooded by the water from Mr Rylands’ mill reservoir in 1860-61.
Held: Mr Rylands was responsible. Blackburn J said: ‘We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings on his lands and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at his peril, and, if he does not do so, is prima facie answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape. He can excuse himself by shewing that the escape was owing to the plaintiff’s default; or perhaps that the escape was the consequence of vis major, or the act of God; but as nothing of this sort exists here, it is unnecessary to inquire what excuse would be sufficient. The general rule, as above stated, seems on principle just. The person whose grass or corn is eaten down by the escaping cattle of his neighbour, or whose mine is flooded by the water from his neighbour’s reservoir, or whose cellar is invaded by the filth of his neighbour’s privy, or whose habitation is made unhealthy by the fumes and noisome vapours of his neighbour’s alkali works, is damnified without any fault of his own; and it seems but reasonable and just that the neighbour, who has brought something on his own property which was not naturally there, harmless to others so long as it is confined to his own property, but which he knows to be mischievous if it gets on his neighbour’s, should be obliged to make good the damage which ensues if he does not succeed in confining it to his own property. But for his act in bringing it there no mischief could have accrued, and it seems but just that he should at his peril keep it there so that no mischief may accrue, or answer for the natural and anticipated consequences. And upon authority, this we think is established to be the law whether the things so brought be beasts, or water, or filth, or stenches.’

Blackburn J
(1866) LR 1 Ex 265, [1865] 3 HandC 774, [1865] EngR 436, (1865) 3 H and C 774, (1865) 159 ER 737
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedMason v Levy Auto Parts of England 1967
The defendants had a store of machinery in inflammable packings, together with a quantity of petroleum, acetylene and paints. A neighbour claimed from fire damage.
Held: They were liable for the damage when fire broke out and escaped to the . .
AppliedCockburn v Smith 1924
The owner of a block of flats let one to the tenant, but kept the roof and guttering in his own possession and control. The guttering became defective and the landlord failed to remedy it after notice. Rainwater escaped and caused damage to the . .
CitedAttorney-General v Corke ChD 1933
The defendant whose land had been occupied by caravan dwellers for profit was liable in public nuisance and under the rule in Rylands v Fletcher and was restrained by injunction. Offending acts had been committed by the caravan dwellers, who were . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedWoodland v Essex County Council SC 23-Oct-2013
The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .
CitedMiller v Jackson CA 6-Apr-1977
The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.188009

Hirose Electrical UK Ltd v Peak Ingredients Ltd: CA 11 Aug 2011

The claimant appealed against dismissal of its claim in nuisance. The parties occupied adjoining units on an industrial estate. The defendant’s business generated odour which, the wall between them being permeable, passed into the claimant’s office environment.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. The judge had correctly summarised and applied the relevant law. In particular he had not misapplied the decision in Southwark v Mills. The root of the problem lay not with the defendant’s activities, which fell within the user covenant, but with the wall. The findings were open to him, and an appellate court could not second guess factual conclusions drawn by the judge after a site visit.

Mummery, Munby LJJ, Hedley J
[2011] EWCA Civ 987, [2011] Env LR 34, [2011] NPC 94
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
CitedSouthwark London Borough Council v Mills/Tanner; Baxter v Camden London Borough Council HL 21-Oct-1999
Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .

Cited by:
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.442716

Watson and Others v Croft Promo-Sport Ltd: QBD 16 Apr 2008

The claimants were neighbours to a car racing circuit. They complained of noise nuisance.
Held: Simon J said: ‘The Claimants’ objections are not to the car and motor-bicycle racing fixtures which amount to about 20 (N1 and N2) events each year (over approximately 45-50 days); but to the noise from the circuit’s other activities, in particular Vehicle Testing Days and Track Days (when members of the public drive vehicles at speed all day) at noise levels which reach N2-N4 levels.’
(1) a planning authority (including a minister and an inspector) have no jurisdiction to authorise a nuisance, though they may have the power to permit a change in the character of a neighbourhood and (2) the question whether a permissive planning permission has changed the character of a neighbourhood so as to defeat what would otherwise constitute a claim in nuisance is one of fact and degree.

Simon J
[2008] EWHC 759 (QB), [2008] Env LR 43, (2008) 152(18) SJLB 29, [2008] 3 All ER 1171, [2008] 2 EGLR 149
Bailii
England and Wales

Nuisance, Planning

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.375092

Regan 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 infringement of a right to light it cannot be said that refusing an injunction and leaving the claimant with an award of damages in lieu is an exceptional course . . having regard in particular to the guidance given in the decisions of the Court of Appeal in the cases of Kine v. Jolly and Fishenden, that the onus is plainly on a claimant to persuade the court that he should not be left to a remedy in damages. The damage to the claimant’s land was relatively small, it could be adequately compensated in money, and it would be oppressive to award an injunction.

Stephen Smith QC DJ
[2006] EWHC 1941 (Ch)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedColls v Home and Colonial Stores Ltd HL 2-May-1904
The courts below had concluded that the defendant had infringed the plaintiff’s right to light, and had awarded an injunction.
Held: the appeal succeeded. The House set out the requirements for establishing the existence of a right to light. . .
CitedDeakins v Hookings CC 1994
(County Court) Judge Cooke considered a claim for an alleged breach of a right of light. The well-lit area in the living room was 51% of the floor area before the development, reduced to 41% afterwards.
Held: There had been an actionable . .
CitedCarr-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 . .
CitedOugh v King CA 1967
A claim was made for breach of a right to light. The defendant relied on Waldram diagrams to demonstrate that the new extensions did not reduce the amount of adequate light remaining available below the 50% threshold. The relevant room had a floor . .
CitedPrice v Hilditch 1930
The erection of a high boundary wall was established to be a nuisance. Maugham J: ‘A ground plan put in by one of the expert witnesses for the plaintiff shows the amount of floor space to which the light of the sky has access, calculated from the . .
CitedFishenden v Higgs and Hill Ltd CA 1935
An injunction had been refused an injunction in respect of an infringement of an easement of light and awarded damages in lieu, even though the damages would be substantial because it had been shown that the plaintiff was plainly ‘only wanting . .
CitedKine v Jolly CA 1905
The court refused an injunction in respect of an infringement of the right to light to a dwelling house, restricting the plaintiff to a remedy in damages. Cozens-Hardy LJ: ‘I think it is impossible to doubt that the tendency of the speeches in the . .
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 . .
CitedJaggard v Sawyer and Another CA 18-Jul-1994
Recovery of damages after Refusal of Injunction
The plaintiff appealed against the award of damages instead of an injunction aftter the County court had found the defendant to have trespassed on his land by a new building making use of a private right of way.
Held: The appeal failed.
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 . .
CitedPugh v Howells CA 1984
The court ordered a building to be demolished were the development had been speeded up and completed over a bank holiday weekend in order to present the plaintiff with a fait-accompli, having been warned that the proposed works would infringe a . .

Cited by:
CitedTurner and Another v Pryce and others ChD 9-Jan-2008
The claimants asserted that they had the benefit of restrictive covenants under a building scheme to prevent the defendants erecting more houses in their neighbouring garden. The defendants pointed to alleged breaches of the same scheme by the . .
CitedWatson and others v Croft Promo-Sport Ltd CA 26-Jan-2009
The claimants were neighbours of the Croft motor racing circuit. They alleged nuisance in the levels of noise emanating from the site. The defendants denied nuisance saying that the interference was deemed reasonable since they operated within the . .
Appeal fromRegan v Paul Properties Ltd and others CA 26-Oct-2006
The court considered the appropriate remedy after a finding of infringement of a right to light, and in particular: ‘whether the proper remedy for infringement in this case is damages for nuisance, as ordered by the court below, or whether a . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Land

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.244231

Leakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty: CA 31 Jul 1979

Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is natural or man-made (the ‘hazard’ being an unstable mound of earth which was present on the land not as a result of any human action or activity on the land). The nature and extent of the duty is a duty to do that which is reasonable in all the circumstances. The decision and the dicta in Rylands v Fletcher had given rise to continual trouble in the law of England.
Megaw LJ said: ‘The defendant’s duty is to do that which it is reasonable for him to do. The criteria of reasonableness include, in respect of a duty of this nature, the factor of what the particular man – not the average man – can be expected to do, having regard, amongst other things, where a serious expenditure of money is required to eliminate or reduce the danger, to his means. Just as, where physical effort is required to avert an immediate danger, the defendant’s age and physical condition may be relevant in deciding what is reasonable, so also logic and good sense require that, where the expenditure of money is required, the defendant’s capacity to find the money is relevant. But this can only be in the way of a broad, and not a detailed, assessment; and, in arriving at a judgment on reasonableness, a similar broad assessment may be relevant in some cases as to the neighbour’s capacity to protect himself from damage, whether by way of some form of barrier on his own land or by way of providing funds for expenditure on agreed works on the land of the defendant.’ and
‘If, as a result of the working of the forces of nature, there is poised above my land or above my house a boulder or a rotten tree which is liable to fall at any moment of the day or night perhaps destroying my house, and perhaps killing or injuring me or members of my family, am I without a remedy? . . Must I, in such a case, if my protests to my neighbour go unheeded, sit and wait and hope that the worst will not befall? If it is said that I have in such circumstances a remedy of going on my neighbour’s land to abate the nuisance, that would, or might, be an unsatisfactory remedy. But in any event, if there were such a right of abatement, it would, as counsel for the Plaintiffs rightly contended, be because my neighbour owed me a duty. There is, I think, ample authority that, if I have a right of abatement, I have also a remedy in damages if the nuisance remains unabated and causes me damage or personal injury.’
and ‘The duty is to do that which is reasonable in all the circumstances, and no more than what, if anything, is reasonable to prevent or minimise the known risk of damage or injury to one’s neighbour or to his property. The considerations with which the law is familiar are all to be taken into account in deciding whether there has been a breach of duty, and, if so, what that breach is, and whether it is causative of the damage in respect of which the claim is made. Thus there will fall to be considered the extent of the risk; what so far as can reasonably be foreseen are the chances that anything untoward will happen or that any damage will be caused? What is to be foreseen as to the possible extent of the damage if the risk becomes a reality. Is it practicable to prevent, or to minimise, the happening of any damage? If it is practicable, how simple or how difficult are the measures which could be taken, how much and how lengthy work do they involve, and what is the probable cost of such works? Was there sufficient time for preventive action to have been taken, by persons acting reasonably in relation to the known risk, between the time when it became known to, or should have been realised by the defendant, and the time when the damage occurred. Factors such as these, so far as they apply in a particular case, fall to be weighed in deciding whether the defendant’s duty of care requires, or required, him to do anything, and, if so, what?’

Megaw LJ, Shaw LJ, Cumming-Bruce LJ
[1980] QB 485, [1980] 1 All ER 17, [1979] EWCA Civ 5
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedJob Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors CA 1924
Land next to the canal was used for the deposit of refuse by trespassers. The mound spread until, for a fee, it was dumped also across the canal. It caught fire, and the fire spread toward the canal. By agreement the parties got together to put out . .
CitedDonoghue (or M’Alister) v Stevenson HL 26-May-1932
Decomposed Snail in Ginger Beer Bottle – Liability
The appellant drank from a bottle of ginger beer manufactured by the defendant. She suffered injury when she found a half decomposed snail in the liquid. The glass was opaque and the snail could not be seen. The drink had been bought for her by a . .
CitedDavey v Harrow Corporation CA 1957
The Plaintiff’s house was damaged by roots penetrating from trees on adjoining land. At first instance, Sellers J found that the damage was caused by the trees, but they were not proven to be the property of the defendants. On appeal and after . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedSmith v Kenrick CCP 1849
Where there are two minings working adjacent land, each has the right to work his own mine, and to construct shafts in his own mine in whatever way he thinks fit, and even if this results naturally in damage to the neighbour’s mine, provided he is . .
CitedBarker v Herbert CA 1911
The Defendant owned a house near the highway. A rail in a nearby fence of the area railing had been broken away by some boys, and there was therefore a gap in the railings. A child climbed through fell into an open area, injuring himself. The . .
CitedNoble v Harrison CA 1926
A tree shed a limb onto a passer-by, causing personal injury. The Court of Appeal reversed the original finding in favour of the claimant because the defect could not have been discovered by inspection. A land-owner may become liable for a naturally . .
CitedWilkins v Leighton 1932
Luxmoore J said that ‘one of the most normal uses of land’ (for the purposes of the Rylands v. Fletcher doctrine) ‘ . . is to put buildings on it.’ . .
CitedRead v J Lyons and Co Ltd HL 1946
The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had . .
CitedThomas and Evans Ltd v Mid-Rhondda Co-operative Society CA 1941
The defendants set out to re-construct a wall along the side of the river to protect their land and an adjacent highway from flooding. In doing so they pulled down the wall, leaving gaps which they intended to fill by a new building. The river . .
CitedRouse v Gravelworks Ltd CA 1940
The defendants had dug out gravel from their land, leaving a large hole adjacent to the boundary with the plaintiff’s land. Water filled the hole and caused damage to the plaintff’s land.
Held: The plaintiff’s claim failed because the damage . .

Cited by:
CitedThames Water Utilities Limited v Marcic CA 7-Feb-2002
The claimant owned land over which sewage and other water had spilled from the appellant’s sewage works. His claim having been dismissed under Rylands v Fletcher, and there being no statutory means of obtaining compensation, the judge was asked to . .
CitedGreen v The Right Honourable Lord Somerleyton and others CA 28-Feb-2003
The parties owned areas of marshland divided by a road. The claimant sought a declaration that the defendants had no right to allow floodwater to escape over his land from what he said was an artificial reservoir on the defendant’s land. The . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited HL 4-Dec-2003
The claimant’s house was regularly flooded by waters including also foul sewage from the respondent’s neighbouring premises. He sought damages and an injunction. The defendants sought to restrict the claimant to his statutory rights.
Held: The . .
CitedTennant Radiant Heat Ltd v Warrington Development Corporation 1988
A property comprised a large building let on fully repairing leases of 22 units. The many rain outlets were allowed to become blocked, and water accumulated above one unit before that part of the roof collapsed. The landlord appealed a finding that . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedArscott and others v Coal Authority and Another CA 13-Jul-2004
The defendant had deposited coal wastes. When the river Taff flooded, the spoil heaps diverted the floods to damage the claimants’ homes. They appealed refusal of their claims in nuisance. The judge applied the common enemy rule: ‘an owner or . .
AppliedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedAnthony and others v The Coal Authority QBD 28-Jul-2005
The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd and Another CA 16-Jun-2010
The claimants had bought houses from the first defendants, who in turn had bought the land from Rochdale, the second defendants. In preparing the land for construction the first defendants were said to have negligently filled in a drainage culvert . .
CitedPage Motors v Epsom Borough Council CA 9-Jul-1981
The plaintiffs were lessees of land neighbouring that of the Council. Over several years the council’s land had been occupied by gypsies who, it was said had damaged the plaintiff’s business. Though the Council had obtained a possession order in . .
CitedWillis and Another v Derwentside District Council ChD 10-Apr-2013
The claimants sought damages alleging the escape of noxious CO2 gas from the defendant’s neighbouring land. The gas originated from old coal workings.
Held: There had come to be a liability falling in the defendant from 2006. Its delay in . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedRobbins v London Borough of Bexley CA 17-Oct-2013
The claimant said that his house had been damaged by tree roots for which the appellant was responsible. The trees were 33 metres from the house.
Held: The appeal failed. The immediate cause of the damage was a failure to do something which . .
CitedStagecoach South Western Trains Ltd v Hind and Another TCC 11-Jun-2014
A train crash was caused when an ash tree fell from the defendant’s land across the railway line. The company sought damages from the land-owner.
Held: The land-owner’s duty extended no further than the carrying out of periodic informal or . .
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
CitedHurst and Another v Hampshire County Council CA 19-Jun-1997
A Local Authority is liable for any damage to adjacent property caused by the roots of a tree growing on the verge of a public highway.
Held: Pre-adoption trees vest in the highway authority for all purposes. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.179683

Green v The Right Honourable Lord Somerleyton and others: CA 28 Feb 2003

The parties owned areas of marshland divided by a road. The claimant sought a declaration that the defendants had no right to allow floodwater to escape over his land from what he said was an artificial reservoir on the defendant’s land. The claimant’s claim under Rylands had been rejected, but he appealed his claim in nuisance. The defendants sought a declaration of an easement of drainage. The land had previously been in one ownership. Various deeds had provided for mutual rights and arbitration. Changes in water flow had lead to dykes becoming silted up.
Held: If a Leakey duty arose on the defendants, it had been discharged. Also the earlier deeds had done enough to resreve implied easements of drainage.

Lord Justice Jonathan Parker Lord Justice Schiemann Sir Christopher Staughton
[2003] EWCA Civ 198, Gazette 13-Mar-2003
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedHoney v Sliversprings Bleaching and Dyeing Co Ltd ChD 1992
. .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedThomas and Evans Ltd v Mid-Rhondda Co-operative Society CA 1941
The defendants set out to re-construct a wall along the side of the river to protect their land and an adjacent highway from flooding. In doing so they pulled down the wall, leaving gaps which they intended to fill by a new building. The river . .
CitedL E Jones (Insurance Brokers) Ltd v Portsmouth City Council CA 7-Nov-2002
The claimant sought compensation for damage caused to his property by the roots of trees on the verge outside his premises.
Held: The respondent did exercise lawful control over the trees, even though it did not own the land on which they . .
CitedPwllbach Colliery Co v Woodman HL 1915
Whether an easement may be created by implication depends on the circumstances under which it is said to have been made. The law implies a grant of such easements as may be necessary to give effect to the common intention of the parties to a grant . .

Cited by:
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd (Manchester Division) and Another QBD 17-Feb-2009
The claimant sought damages in nuisance and negligence saying that in constructing a new housing estate, they had altered the land in such a way as to lead to the repeated flooding of their home.
Held: Both the developer and the council were . .
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd and Another CA 16-Jun-2010
The claimants had bought houses from the first defendants, who in turn had bought the land from Rochdale, the second defendants. In preparing the land for construction the first defendants were said to have negligently filled in a drainage culvert . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Nuisance

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.179560

Read v J Lyons and Co Ltd: HL 1946

The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had been no escape from the land which was a pre-requisite to liability under Rylands -v- Fletcher. No claim in nuisance or under the rule can arise if the events complained of take place wholly on the land of a single occupier. There must be an escape from one tenement to another. ‘escape . . means escape from a place where the defendant has occupation of or control over land to a place which is outside his occupation or control.’ and ‘For if a man commits a legal nuisance it is no answer to his injured neighbour that he took the utmost care not to commit it. There the liability is strict, and there he alone has a lawful claim who has suffered an invasion of some proprietary or other interest in land.’

Lord Simonds, Viscount Simon, Lord MacMillan, Lord Porter, Lord Uthwatt
[1947] AC 156, [1946] 2 All ER 471, [1947] LJR 39, [1946] 175 LT 413, [1946] 62 TLR 646, [1946] 91 Sol J Jo 54, [1946] UKHL 2
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedMay v Burdett 1846
The court considered the liability of the owner for a bite by his pet monkey. . .
CitedBesozzi v Harris 1858
The court considered the owner’s liability for injury caused by a bear on a chain on the defendant’s premises. . .
CitedGreen v Chelsea Waterworks Co 1894
A water main belonging to a waterworks company, which had been authorized by Parliament to lay the main, burst. There had been no negligence on the part of the waterworks company. The claimants’ premises were flooded but the waterworks company was . .
CitedEllis v Loftus Iron Co 1874
The pasturing of cattle must be one of the most ordinary uses of land, and strict liability for damage done by cattle enclosed on one man’s land if they escape thence into the land of another, is one of the most ancient propositions of our law. It . .

Cited by:
DoubtedDavis and Another v Balfour Kilpatrick Ltd and others CA 23-May-2002
The claimants sought damages for sickness they claimed arose from exposure to radiation when erecting radio transmitter masts. The risk had been recognised, and a safety assessment undertaken and adjustments made to the transmitter power before work . .
AppliedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
AppliedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedDymond v Pearce CA 13-Jan-1972
A motorcyclist crashed into the rear of a lorry stationary on the carriageway. The plaintff said that the parking of the lorry was a nuisance, and that if it had not been so parked, there would have been no accident.
Held: The appeal failed. . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.183101

Hale v Jennings Bros: 1938

The owner of the fairground was held to be responsible for a chair-o-plane which became detached from the roundabout, because the act of the man ‘fooling about on this device’ was: ‘just the kind of behaviour which ought to have been anticipated as being a likely act with a percentage of users of the apparatus.’
The plaintiff recovered damages for personal injuries under the rule in Rylands v Fletcher.

Scott LJ
[1938] 1 All ER 579
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

Cited by:
DisapprovedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Personal Injury

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.188034

Regan v Paul Properties Ltd and others: CA 26 Oct 2006

The court considered the appropriate remedy after a finding of infringement of a right to light, and in particular: ‘whether the proper remedy for infringement in this case is damages for nuisance, as ordered by the court below, or whether a mandatory injunction should be granted requiring part of a building in the course of construction to be pulled down. ‘
The court rejected the trial judge’s view that, where the defendant’s building interfered with the claimant’s right to light, the onus was on the claimant to show that damages were not an adequate remedy.
Mummery LJ said: ‘Shelfer is the best known case. It is a decision of the Court of Appeal. It has never been overruled and it is binding on this court. The cause of action was nuisance, as in this case, though in the form of noise and vibration rather than interference with a right of light.
36 Shelfer has, for over a century, been the leading case on the power of the court to award damages instead of an injunction. It is authority for the following propositions which I derive from the judgments of Lord Halsbury and Lindley and A L Smith LJJ. (1) A claimant is prima facie entitled to an injunction against a person committing a wrongful act, such as continuing nuisance, which invades the claimant’s legal right. (2) The wrongdoer is not entitled to ask the court to sanction his wrongdoing by purchasing the claimant’s rights on payment of damages assessed by the court. (3) The court has jurisdiction to award damages instead of an injunction, even in cases of a continuing nuisance; but the jurisdiction does not mean that the court is ‘a tribunal for legalising wrongful acts’ by a defendant, who is able and willing to pay damages: per Lindley LJ at pp 315 and 316. (4) The judicial discretion to award damages in lieu should pay attention to well settled principles and should not be exercised to deprive a claimant of his prima facie right ‘except under very special circumstances’: per Lindley LJ at pp 315 and 316. (5) Although it is not possible to specify all the circumstances relevant to the exercise of the discretion or to lay down rules for its exercise, the judgments indicated that it was relevant to consider the following factors: whether the injury to the claimant’s legal rights was small; whether it could be adequately compensated by a small money payment; whether it would be oppressive to grant an injunction; whether the claimant had shown that he only wanted money; whether the conduct of the claimant rendered it unjust to grant him more than pecuniary relief; and whether there were any other circumstances which justified the refusal of an injunction: see A L Smith at pp 322 and 323, and Lindley LJ at p 317.
In my judgment, none of the above propositions has been overruled by later decisions of any higher court or of this court.’

Mummery, Tuckey, Wilson LJJ
[2007] Ch 135, [2006] EWCA Civ 1391, [2007] 4 All ER 48
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromRegan 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 . .
CitedShelfer v City of London Electric Lighting Company, Meux’s Brewery Co v Same CA 1895
The plaintiff sought damages and an injunction for nuisance by noise and vibration which was causing structural injury to a public house.
Held: The court set out the rules for when a court should not grant an injunction for an infringement of . .

Cited by:
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .
CitedHKRUK II (CHC) Ltd v Heaney ChD 3-Sep-2010
The claimant sought a declaration that its property was free of a suggested right of light in favour of its neighbour . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Nuisance, Litigation Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.270197

Stannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore: CA 4 Oct 2012

The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability under the rule in Rylands, concluding that the appellant had collected the tyres on his land, and that the fire had escaped.
Held: The court considered whether the rule in Rylands and Fletcher could be extended to include liability for escaping fire.
Held: The appeal succeeded. Ward LJ said: ‘ although the scope of Rylands v Fletcher has been narrowed each time the highest courts have considered it, the Recorder in fact extended it beyond any previous expression of the principle. He imposed strict liability where it had not existed before.’
. . and ‘the law is as stated in Goldman v Hargrave at least as regards fires that have not been deliberately kindled. An occupier of land will not be liable to his neighbour for a fire that begins accidentally unless he is negligent in failing to prevent its spread. The general test of negligence may entail the taking of special precautions where the use in question involves the accumulation or storage of inflammable or readily combustible materials. But that is a question of fact to be decided on a case by case basis.’
. . and ‘ in the light of Transco plc v Stockport MBC the extension of the principle in Mason v Levy Autoparts of England Ltd was, in my judgment, a wrong turning in the law. No extension of the principle in Rylands v Fletcher can be justified. I would therefore overrule Mason v Levy Autoparts of England Ltd’

Ward, Etherton, Lewison LJJ
[2012] EWCA Civ 1248, [2013] Env LR 10, [2012] WLR(D) 266, [2012] 42 EG 133, [2013] 1 All ER 694
Bailii
Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act 1774
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedDonoghue (or M’Alister) v Stevenson HL 26-May-1932
Decomposed Snail in Ginger Beer Bottle – Liability
The appellant drank from a bottle of ginger beer manufactured by the defendant. She suffered injury when she found a half decomposed snail in the liquid. The glass was opaque and the snail could not be seen. The drink had been bought for her by a . .
CitedRickards v Lothian PC 11-Feb-1913
The claim arose because the outflow from a wash-basin on the top floor of premises was maliciously blocked and the tap left running, with the result that damage was caused to stock on a floor below.
Held: The provision of a domestic water . .
CitedRainham Chemical Works Ltd (in liquidation) and others v Belvedere Fish Guano Co Ltd HL 1921
At a time of war, a process was invented where picric acid was manufactured from dinitrophenol (DNP) and nitrate of soda. DNP had been used mainly for the manufacture of dyes, and was a stable compound which did not explode easily. It was not in . .
CitedBurnie Port Authority v General Jones Property Ltd 1994
(High Court of Australia) The court treated the rule in Rylands v Fletcher as absorbed by the principles of ordinary negligence. The majority were influenced by the difficulties of interpretation and application to which the rule had given rise, the . .
CitedBeaulieu v Finglam 1401
Markham J considered the possibility of liability for the escape of fire to damage a neighbour’s property and said: ‘A man is held to answer for the act of his servant or of his guest in such a case; for if my servant or my guest puts a candle by a . .
CitedTurberville v Stamp 1792
The defendant’s haystack spontaneously combusted and it was alleged that he had ‘wrongfully negligently and improperly kept his haystack so that it became liable to ignite’ and so be a danger to the claimant’s property. The jury were left to . .
CitedRead v J Lyons and Co Ltd HL 1946
The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had . .
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
Cited1582 (Anon) 1582
The defendant fired a gun at a fowl. In so doing he set fire to his own and his neighbour’s house. The action was brought by way of action on the case.
Held: If the plaintiff ‘had counted on the custom of the realm as in [Beaulieu v Finglam] . .
CitedCrogate v Morris 1675
‘if my friend come and lie in my house, and set my neighbour’s house on fire, the action lieth against me.’ . .
CitedBlack v The Christchurch Finance Company Limited PC 16-Dec-1893
(New Zealand) Lord Shand, said: ‘The lighting of a fire on open bush land, where it may readily spread to adjoining property and cause serious damage, is an operation necessarily attended with great danger, and a proprietor who executes such an . .
CitedH and N Emanuel Ltd v Greater London Council CA 1971
Notwithstanding a clause in the contract that no rubbish was to be burnt on the site, it was known to the Council that the contractor it had engaged to demolish and remove prefabricated bungalows made a practice of burning off small pieces of wood . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedRichards v Easto 21-Feb-1846
Section 86 of the 1774 Act applies to the whole country. . .
CitedFilliter v Phippard 9-Dec-1847
Lord Denman CJ considered a 1707 Act restricting liability for fire damage: ‘The Act contemplates the probability of fires in cities and towns arising from three causes, the want of water, the imperfection of party walls, and the negligence of . .
CitedViscount Canterbury v The Attorney-General 11-Feb-1843
Whether the protection given by the statutes 6 Ann. c. 31, and 14 G 3, c, 78, toa party in whose house or on whose estate ‘a fire shall accidentally begin’ extends to fires occasioned by the negligence of the owner or his servants, or, whether it is . .
CitedVaughan v Menlove 1837
The defendant had been advised of the probable consequences of allowing a stack of damp hay, which he had erected without proper ventilation, to remain in this condition. Subsequently the hay spontaneously ignited damaging the plaintiff’s house. At . .
CitedAldridge v The Great Western Railway Company 19-Nov-1841
Case against a railway company for so carelessly and improperly managing and directing an engine on their railway by their servants, that sparks flew from the engine upon a stack of beans standing in an adjoining field, belonging to the plaintiff, . .
CitedPiggot v The Eastern Counties Railway Company 2-Jun-1846
Sparks from the engine of a passing mail train set fire to the plaintiff’s cart lodge. The claim against the railway company was that they ‘so carelessly, negligently, and unskilfully managed and conducted their said steam-carriage and steam-engine’ . .
CitedVaughan v The Taff Vale Railway Company 20-Nov-1858
A wood adjoining the defendants’ railway was burnt by sparks from the locomotives. On several previous occasions it had been set on fire, and the Company had paid for the damage. Evidence was given that the defendants had done everything that was . .
CitedSmith v The London and South Western Railway Company 1869
Negligence requires duty to injured
Workmen, employed by the defendant railway company to cut the grass and trim hedges bordering the railway, placed the trimmings in heaps near the line, and allowed them to remain there for fourteen days, during very hot weather in the month of . .
CitedSmith v The London and South Western Railway Company 1870
Blackburn J said: ‘I take it that, since the case of Vaughan v Taff Vale Ry Co, which was expressly affirmed in Brand v Hammersmith Ry Co, it is clear that when a railway company is authorized by their Act of parliament to run engines on their line, . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher CEC 1865
Mr Fletcher’s Lancashire coal mine was flooded by the water from Mr Rylands’ mill reservoir in 1860-61.
Held: Mr Rylands was responsible. Blackburn J said: ‘We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings . .
Wrong in partMusgrove v Pandelis CA 2-Jan-1919
The plaintiff ((M) rented first floor rooms above the defendant’s garage. The defendant’s employee spilt petrol which was lit, and negligently failed to control it causing a fire, damaging the plaintiff’s rooms.
Held: The Act did not provide a . .
CitedMusgrove v Pandelis 1919
Mr Musgrove rented rooms above a domestic garage, in which Mr Pandelis kept a car. Mr Pandelis sent his chauffeur, Mr Coumis, to clean the car. Mr Coumis had to move the car within the garage. For that purpose he went to the bonnet and turned on the . .
CitedJones v Festiniog Railway CEC 1867
The defendant railway company ran steam locomotives on its railway. Although it had taken all reasonable precautions against the emission of sparks from the engine, nevertheless sparks from the engine set the plaintiff’s haystack alight and burned . .
CitedPowell v Fall 1879
The defendant drove a steam powered traction engine on the highway. Sparks from the engine set fire to the plaintiff’s haystack. The court was asked: ‘whether the owner of a locomotive engine propelled by steam along a public highway using a fire . .
CitedPowell v Fall CA 1880
The defendant had caused a fire when sparks flew from his steam traction engine as he drove along the highway. He now appealed against a judgemnt that he was liable. He conceded that an action lay at common law.
Held: The decision was upheld. . .
CitedJob Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors 1923
Rubbish was tipped on land belonging to a canal company and on adjoining land belonging to mine owners. The rubbish on the mine owners’ land was found to be on fire, and the canal company feared that the fire might spread to their own land. Having . .
CitedJob Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors CA 1924
Land next to the canal was used for the deposit of refuse by trespassers. The mound spread until, for a fee, it was dumped also across the canal. It caught fire, and the fire spread toward the canal. By agreement the parties got together to put out . .
OverruledMason v Levy Autoparts of England Ltd 1967
McKenna J said that there were not three separate routes to liability at law for the escape of fire from premises to a neighbour’s property, but one. A householder was liable for the escape of his fire (ignis suus): no additional danger was needed . .
CriticisedJohnson v BJW Property Developments Ltd 2002
. .
CitedCriminal proceedings against Lindqvist ECJ 6-Nov-2003
Mrs Lindqvist had set up an internet site for her local parish containing information about some of her colleagues in the parish. She gave names, jobs, hobbies and in one case some of the person’s employment and medical details. The Court decided . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
ApprovedE Hobbs (Farms) Limited v The Baxenden Chemical Co Limited 1992
A fire had started in Hobbs’ barn when a spark from a grinding machine fell onto combustible material/debris below the machine. The fire spread into and destroyed Gerber’s adjacent hanger. Hobbs alleged that the fire spread was due to the action of . .
CitedJob Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors CA 1924
Land next to the canal was used for the deposit of refuse by trespassers. The mound spread until, for a fee, it was dumped also across the canal. It caught fire, and the fire spread toward the canal. By agreement the parties got together to put out . .
CitedWilliams v Owen QBD 1955
Mr Williams left his car overnight in the hotel garage. A fire broke out and destroyed his car.
Held: The strict liability of an innkeeper was limited to loss of his guest’s goods rather than to their destruction.
As to section 86 of the . .
CitedBalfour v Barty-King 1957
A fire started as the result of the negligent use of a blow torch by an independent contractor, damaging the plaintiff’s property. The use of fire had, therefore, been deliberate. The plaintiff argued that ‘If negligence be shown, it matters not . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
DeterminativeGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Torts – Other, Negligence

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.464655

Hunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd: HL 25 Apr 1997

The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit her enjoyment of her land.
Held: The interference with TV reception by an adjoining development is not capable of being nuisance to land in law. An action in private nuisance will only lie at the suit of a person who has a right to the land affected. When assessing damages for nuisance, loss of amenity was an appropriate measure where no capital loss was established and loss of use was an additional head. Nuisance is a tort directed at protection of interests in land only.
Lord Hoffmann said: ‘The general principle is that at common law anyone may build whatever he likes upon his land. If the effect is to interfere with the light, air or view of his neighbour, that is his misfortune. The owner’s right to build can be restrained only by covenant or the acquisition (by grant or prescription) of an easement of light or air for the benefit of windows or apertures on adjoining land . . In the absence of agreement, therefore, the English common law allows the rights of a landlord to build as he pleases to be restricted only in carefully limited cases and then only after the period of prescription has elapsed’. And ‘In the case of nuisances ‘productive of sensible personal discomfort’ the action is not for causing discomfort to the person, but as in the case of the first category, for causing injury to the land. True it is that the land has not suffered ‘sensible’ injury, but its utility has been diminished by the existence of the nuisance. It is for the unlawful threat to the utility of his land that the possessor and occupier is entitled to an injunction and it is for the diminution in such utility that he is entitled to compensation.’
Lord Goff said: ‘As a general rule, a man is entitled to build on his own land, though nowadays this right is inevitably subject to our system of planning controls. Moreover, as a general rule, a man’s right to build on his land is not restricted by the fact that the presence of the building may of itself interfere with his neighbour’s enjoyment of his land . . [H]is neighbour generally cannot complain of the presence of the building, though this may seriously detract from the enjoyment of his land.’
Lord Lloyd of Berwick said: ‘Private nuisances are of three kinds. They are (1) nuisance by encroachment on a neighbour’s land; (2) nuisance by direct physical injury to a neighbour’s land; and (3) nuisance by interference with a neighbour’s quiet enjoyment of his land’.
Lord Hope of Craighead said that only certain kinds of rights over the use of land by others are known to law: ‘The presumption also affects the kinds of easement which the law will recognise. When the easements are negative in character – where they restrain the owners’ freedom in the occupation and use of his property – they belong to certain well known categories. As they represent an anomaly in the law because they restrict the owners’ freedom, the law takes care not to extend them beyond the categories which are well known to the law. It is one thing if what one is concerned with is a restriction which has been constituted by express grant or by agreement. Some elasticity in the recognised categories may be permitted in such a case, as the owner has agreed to restrict his own freedom. But it is another matter if what is being suggested is the acquisition of an easement by prescription. Where the easement is of a purely negative character, requiring no action to be taken by the other proprietor and effecting no change on the owner’s property which might reveal its existence, it is important to keep to the recognised categories. A very strong case would require to be made out if they were to be extended. I do not think that that has been demonstrated in the present case.’

Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Cooke of Thorndon, Lord Hope of Craighead
Gazette 14-May-1997, Times 25-Apr-1997, [1997] UKHL 14, [1997] AC 655, [1997] Fam Law 601, [1997] 2 All ER 426, [1997] 2 FLR 342, [1997] 2 WLR 684, [1997] Env LR 488, [1997] 54 Con LR 12, [1997] 84 BLR 1, [1997] CLC 1045, (1998) 30 HLR 409
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd; Same v London Docklands Development Board CA 13-Oct-1995
A release of dust over neighbouring properties can be a nuisance but not a blocking of TV reception signals. No action lay in private nuisance for interference with television caused by the mere presence of a building. ‘A substantial link between . .
CitedBridlington Relay Ltd v Yorkshire Electricity Board ChD 1965
The case concerned electrical interference with TV signals caused by the activities of the defendant Electricity Board.
Held: Such interference did not constitute a legal nuisance, because it was interference with a purely recreational . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedBland v Moseley 1587
The court distinguished the elements of an easement of light and an easement of air. In the absence of an easement, a building may be erected so as to restrict the flow of air onto his neighbour’s land. . .
CitedAldred’s Case 1619
An action would lie where a pig-stye was erected so close to the plaintiff’s house as to corrupt the air in the house, and also and similarly for a lime-kiln with smoke, or where filth from a dye house runs into a fish pond. Where the plaintiff . .
CitedAttorney-General v Doughty 1752
As to any right of prospect, a building erected so as to spoil a view cannot at common law be a nuisance for that reason.
Lord Hardwicke LC said: ‘I know no general rule of common law, which warrants that, or says, that building so as to stop . .
CitedChastey v Ackland CA 1895
The two properties were in a terrace backing onto an area popularly used as a urinal. The defendant raised his wall by sixteen feet causing a stagnation of the air in the yard, making the other houses less healthy. The court at first instance . .
CitedThompson-Schwab v Costaki CA 1956
The sight of prostitutes entering and leaving the defendant’s premises was so offensive as to be actionable in nuisance by a neighbouring owner. . .
CitedBank of New Zealand v Greenwood 14-Dec-1983
High Court – New Zealand. The glass roof of a verandah which deflected the sun’s rays so that a dazzling glare was thrown on to neighbouring buildings was held, prima facie, to create a nuisance. Hardie Boys J said: ‘To the extent that this is an . .
CitedDalton v Henry Angus and Co HL 14-Jun-1881
The court explained the doctrine of lost modern grant. Where there has been more than 20 years’ uninterrupted enjoyment of an easement, and that enjoyment has the necessary qualities to fulfil the requirements of prescription, then unless, for some . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedTate and Lyle Industries Ltd v Greater London Council HL 24-Mar-1983
The plaintiff had constructed and used two jetties, and dredged a channel down to the Thames for their use. The Council constructed two terminals nearby, the result of which was to cause a build up of silt blocking the channel.
Held: The . .
CitedRead v J Lyons and Co Ltd HL 1946
The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had . .
CitedFoster v Warblington Urban District Council CA 1906
A nuisance was caused by the discharge of sewage by the defendant council into oyster beds. The plaintiff was an oyster merchant who had for many years been in occupation of the oyster beds which had been artificially constructed on the foreshore, . .
CitedNewcastle-under-Lyme Corporation v Wolstanton Ltd 1947
The tort of nuisance is directed against the plaintiff’s enjoyment of his rights over land, and an action of private nuisance will usually be brought by the person in actual possession of the land affected, either as the freeholder or tenant of the . .
CitedMalone v Laskey CA 1907
A company’s manager resided in a house as its licensee. His wife was injured when a bracket fell from a wall in the house. She claimed damages from the defendants in nuisance and negligence. The claim in nuisance alleged that the fall of the bracket . .
CitedPaxhaven Holdings Ltd v Attorney-General 1974
(New Zealand) The court considered what interest in land was required to found an action in private nuisance: ‘In my opinion, however, the matter is clear in principle. In an action for nuisance the defence of jus tertii is excluded, and it is no . .
MentionedCunard v Antifyre Ltd 1933
Talbot J defined private nuisance as an interference by owners or occupiers of property with the use or enjoyment of neighbouring property. . .
OverruledKhorasandjian v Bush CA 16-Feb-1993
The plaintiff was an eighteen year old girl who had had a friendship with the defendant, aged 28. The friendship broke down and the plaintiff said she would have no more to do with him, but the defendant did not accept this. There were many . .
DoubtedMotherwell v Motherwell 1976
(Appellate Division of the Alberta Supreme Court) The court recognised that not only the legal owner of property could obtain an injunction, on the ground of private nuisance, to restrain persistent harassment by unwanted telephone calls to his . .
CitedRuxley Electronics and Construction Ltd v Forsyth HL 29-Jun-1995
Damages on Construction not as Agreed
The appellant had contracted to build a swimming pool for the respondent, but, after agreeing to alter the specification to construct it to a certain depth, in fact built it to the original lesser depth, Damages had been awarded to the house owner . .
CitedAsher v Whitlock CEC 3-Nov-1865
Possession of land is in itself a good title against anyone who cannot show a prior and therefore better right to possession. A possession which is wrongful against the true owner can found an action for trespass or nuisance against someone else. A . .
CitedAllan v The Overseers of Liverpool 1874
The plaintiff (or joint plaintiffs) must be enjoying or asserting exclusive possession of the land to assert a claim in nuisance. . .
CitedRust v Victoria Graving Dock Co and London and St Katharine Dock Co 1887
Damages in nuisance are not to be increased by any subdivision of interests. . .
CitedRuxley Electronics and Construction Ltd v Forsyth CA 7-Jan-1994
In 1986, the defendant, wanted a swimming pool adjoining his house. He contracted with the plaintiffs. The contract price for the pool, with certain extras, was 17,797.40 pounds including VAT. The depth of the pool was to be 6 ft 6 in at the deep . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedBone v Seale CA 1975
The plaintiffs were the owners and occupiers of two adjoining properties. They claimed damages for nuisance by smell. The judge awarded over 6,000 pounds to each of the plaintiffs. The Court of Appeal reduced the sum to 1,000 pounds.
Held: the . .
CitedBillings (AC) and Sons Ltd v Riden HL 1957
A building contractor may assume a duty of care to a visitor, though the contractor was not viewed as the occupier, the occupier being separately liable to the injured plaintiff. However, ‘if the Plaintiff knew the danger, either because he was . .
DoubtedMetropolitan Properties v Jones 1939
The defendant had been tenant of one of the plaintiffs’ flats but had assigned his lease. The assignee disappeared and the tenant, who as original lessee remained liable for the rent, went back into possession. In response to an action for rent, he . .
CitedSt Helen’s Smelting Co v Tipping HL 1865
The defendant built a factory, from which the escaping chemical fumes damaged local trees.
Held: The defendant was liable even though the smelting was an ordinary business carried on properly, and even though the district surrounding was . .
CitedWilkinson v Downton 8-May-1997
Thomas Wilkinson, the landlord of a public house, went off by train, leaving his wife Lavinia behind the bar. A customer of the pub, Downton played a practical joke on her. He told her, falsely, that her husband had been involved in an accident and . .
CitedJanvier v Sweeney 1919
During the First World War Mlle Janvier lived as a paid companion in a house in Mayfair and corresponded with her German lover who was interned as an enemy alien on the Isle of Man. Sweeney was a private detective who wanted secretly to obtain some . .
CitedBury v Pope 1587
The owner of land was held entitled to erect a house against his neighbour’s windows even though they had enjoyed light for over 30 years. ‘And lastly, the earth hath in law a great extent upwards, not only of water as hath been said, but of aire, . .
CitedLopez Ostra v Spain ECHR 9-Dec-1994
A waste treatment plant was built close to the applicant’s home in an urban location and the plant released fumes and smells which caused health problems to local residents.
Held: A duty exists to take reasonable and appropriate measures to . .
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
CitedWebb v Bird 1861
The use of prescription for the acquisition of an an easement of light is anomalous. The owner of the land over which the easement is claimed can do nothing to prevent the installation of windows in a neighbour’s house. . .
CitedStreet v Mountford HL 6-Mar-1985
When a licence is really a tenancy
The document signed by the occupier stated that she understood that she had been given a licence, and that she understood that she had not been granted a tenancy protected under the Rent Acts. Exclusive occupation was in fact granted.
Held: . .
CitedBryant v Lefever 1879
A right of uninterrupted but undefined flow of air to a chimney is not capable of becoming an easement acquired by prescription. . .
CitedPaterson v Gas Light and Coke Co. 1896
. .
CitedArrondelle v United Kingdom ECHR 1982
Article 8 of the Convention is aimed, in part, at protecting the home and are construed to give protection against nuisances including aircraft noise. . .
CitedMidwood v Manchester Corporation 1905
A plaintiff with standing to sue should be entitled to recover in nuisance for damage to chattels. . .
CitedMoss v Christchurch Rural District Council 1925
Damage caused to a house may result in an award of the diminution of the value of the house only. . .
CitedRegina v Tao 1977
. .
CitedJacobs v London County Council HL 1950
The House considered the operation of the doctrine of precedent: ‘there is in my opinion no justification for regarding as obiter dictum a reason given by a judge for his decision because he has given another reason also. If it were a proper test to . .
CitedBritish Celanese Ltd v A H Hunt (Capacitors) Ltd QBD 1969
Metal foil had been blown from the defendant’s factory premises on to an electricity sub-station, which in turn brought the plaintiff’s machines to a halt.
Held: The meaning Lawton J would give to the phrase ‘direct victim’ was a person whose . .
CitedHalsey v Esso Petroleum Co Ltd 1961
A plaintiff who has standing to sue, including a member of the household of the landowner, should be entitled to recover in nuisance for damage to chattels.
Veale J started from the position of the ‘ordinary man’ in considering whether an . .
CitedChristie v Davey 1893
A music teacher gave lessons at home and from time to time held noisy parties. He complained of nuisance when his neighbour retaliated by blowing whistles, banging trays and trying to disturb the music.
Held: The defendant’s actions were . .
CitedWheeler and Another v JJ Saunders Ltd and Others CA 19-Dec-1994
The existence of a planning permission did not excuse the causing of a nuisance by the erection of a pighouse. The permission was not a statutory authority, and particularly so where it was possible it had been procured by the supply of inaccurate . .
CitedHarvie v Robertson 1903
The pursuer sought an interdict against the defender from carrying on the operation of lime-burning on his land: ‘the question whether a proprietor complaining of such injury has a title and interest to interfere does not depend exclusively upon . .
CitedGillingham Borough Council v Medway (Chatham) Dock Co Ltd CA 1992
Neighbours complained at the development of a new commercial port on the site of a disused naval dockyard. Heavy vehicle traffic at night had a seriously deleterious effect on the comfort of local residents.
Held: Although a planning consent . .
CitedNewcastle-under-Lyme Corporation v Wolstanton Ltd 1947
The tort of nuisance is directed against the plaintiff’s enjoyment of his rights over land, and an action of private nuisance will usually be brought by the person in actual possession of the land affected, either as the freeholder or tenant of the . .
CitedHollywood Silver Fox Farm v Emmett 1936
The plaintiffs farmed silver foxes for their fur. During the breeding season, they were nervous, but the neighbour defendant farmer deliberately encouraged his son to fire guns near the pens in order to disturb the breeding and cause economic loss. . .
At first InstanceHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd QBD 20-Dec-1994
The plaintiff made two claims arising from the construction works involvd in the Canary Wharf development. First that the building now prevented her TV signal reception, and second that the works had released substantial volumes of dust so as to . .

Cited by:
CitedJan De Nul (Uk) Limited v NV Royale Belge CA 10-Oct-2001
The contractor undertook to dredge a stretch of river. Due to its failure to investigate properly, the result was the release of substantial volumes of silt into the estuary, to the damage of other river users and frontagers. The act amounted to a . .
CitedDennis and Dennis v Ministry of Defence QBD 16-Apr-2003
The applicants owned a substantial property near an airbase. They complained that changes in the patterns of flying by the respondents were a nuisance and sought damages. Walcot Hall was subjected to very high noise levels from military aircraft. . .
CitedWainwright and another v Home Office HL 16-Oct-2003
The claimant and her son sought to visit her other son in Leeds Prison. He was suspected of involvement in drugs, and therefore she was subjected to strip searches. There was no statutory support for the search. The son’s penis had been touched . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedRegina v Rimmington; Regina v Goldstein HL 21-Jul-2005
Common Law – Public Nuisance – Extent
The House considered the elements of the common law offence of public nuisance. One defendant faced accusations of having sent racially offensive materials to individuals. The second was accused of sending an envelope including salt to a friend as a . .
CitedWatkins v Home Office and others HL 29-Mar-2006
The claimant complained of misfeasance in public office by the prisons for having opened and read protected correspondence whilst he was in prison. The respondent argued that he had suffered no loss. The judge had found that bad faith was . .
CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others; similar HL 2-May-2007
In Douglas, the claimants said that the defendants had interfered with their contract to provide exclusive photographs of their wedding to a competing magazine, by arranging for a third party to infiltrate and take and sell unauthorised photographs. . .
CitedCorby Group v Corby Borough Council CA 8-May-2008
The claimants sought damages alleging that land owned by the defendant was so contaminated as to have caused their children to be born with deformities. The authority appealed against refusal of the court to strike out the claim in response to their . .
CitedWatson and others v Croft Promo-Sport Ltd CA 26-Jan-2009
The claimants were neighbours of the Croft motor racing circuit. They alleged nuisance in the levels of noise emanating from the site. The defendants denied nuisance saying that the interference was deemed reasonable since they operated within the . .
CitedDobson and others v Thames Water Utilities Ltd and Another CA 29-Jan-2009
The claimants complained of odours and mosquitoes affecting their properties from the activities of the defendants in the conduct of their adjoining Sewage Treatment plant. The issue was as to the rights of non title holders to damages in nuisance . .
CitedDennis and Another v Davies (B20 (Ch)) ChD 21-Nov-2008
The claimants sought to enforce a restrictive covenant to restrain a neighbour building an extension.
Held: A building could be a source of annoyance and therefore a breach of the particular covenant. The requirement for the builder’s . .
CitedDavies v Dennis and Others CA 22-Oct-2009
The land owner appealed against an injunction given to prevent him carrying out building works which the neighbours said would breach a restrictive covenant. The covenants negatived a building scheme.
Held: The appeal failed. Covenants of the . .
CitedArscott and others v Coal Authority and Another CA 13-Jul-2004
The defendant had deposited coal wastes. When the river Taff flooded, the spoil heaps diverted the floods to damage the claimants’ homes. They appealed refusal of their claims in nuisance. The judge applied the common enemy rule: ‘an owner or . .
CitedLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others QBD 4-Mar-2011
The claimants had complained that motor-cycle and other racing activities on neighbouring lands were a noise nuisance, but the court also considered that agents of the defendants had sought to intimidate the claimants into not pursuing their action. . .
CitedThornhill and Others v Nationwide Metal Recycling Ltd and Another CA 29-Jul-2011
The appellants challenged a decision that the defendants had ceased to be committing an actionable nuisance after erecting a sound barrier between their metal scrap yard and the claimants’ properties.
Held: The judge had correcly applied the . .
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .
CitedOPO v MLA and Another CA 9-Oct-2014
The claimant child sought to prevent publication by his father of an autobiography which, he said, would be likely to cause him psychological harm. The father was well known classical musician who said that he had himself suffered sexual abuse as a . .
CitedRegency Villas Title Ltd and Others v Diamond Resorts (Europe) Ltd and Another ChD 7-Dec-2015
Claim by time share owners for easements over neighbouring land. The easements were for various sporting rights and facilities.
Held: The Claimants were entitled to appropriate declaratory relief confirming that they have the rights they claim . .
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other, Land, Nuisance, Damages

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.81542

Coventry and Others v Lawrence and Another (No 2): SC 23 Jul 2014

Consequential judgment. Mr Coventry had been found liable in the principle judgment in nuisance to the appellant neighbours. The Court was now asked as to several matters arising. First, to what extent were the defendants’ landlords liable to the claimants, and second as to the suspension of the injunctions whilst the property to be protected was not occupied.
Held: The injunction should be suspended. The landlords should be discharged from liability, but wth no order for costs in their favour. Further orders as to the costs scheme required the involvement of the Attorney-General etc and a final hearing was adjourned.

Lord Neuberger, President, Lord Mance, Lord Clarke, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath
[2014] UKSC 46, [2014] WLR(D) 332, UKSC 2012/0076, [2014] PTSR 1014, [2014] 4 All ER 517, [2015] 1 AC 106, [2014] 3 WLR 555, [2014] HLR 42, [2014] 5 Costs LO 759, [2014] 2 P andCR 19
Bailii, SC Summary, SC, WLRD, SC Summary Video
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromCoventry (T/A RDC Promotions and Another v Lawrence and Others CA 27-Feb-2012
The appellants, owners of a motor sport racing circuit, appealed against a finding that their activities constituted a nuisance, given that they had planning permissions for the use.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The judge had erred in holding . .
Principal judgmentCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .
CitedSmith v Scott ChD 1973
It is not open to the court to reshape the law relating to the rights and liabilities of landowners by applying the principle of Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562 and thus saying that a landowner owed a duty of care to his neighbour when selecting . .
CitedSouthwark London Borough Council v Mills/Tanner; Baxter v Camden London Borough Council HL 21-Oct-1999
Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .
CitedSmith v Scott ChD 1973
It is not open to the court to reshape the law relating to the rights and liabilities of landowners by applying the principle of Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562 and thus saying that a landowner owed a duty of care to his neighbour when selecting . .
CitedMalzy v Eicholz CA 1916
A tenant claimed against his landlord seeking to make him responsible for the nuisance of a co-tenant.
Held: The claim failed.
Lord Cozens-Hardy MR said: ‘A lessor is not liable in damages to his lessee under a covenant for quiet . .
CitedSampson v Hodson-Pressinger CA 1981
The defendant owned a Victorian house which had been converted vertically into apartments. He let them to tenants under agreements containing the usual covenant of quiet enjoyment. One of the upper storey apartments had made use of the flat roof of . .
CitedBanfai v Formula Fun Centre Inc 13-Dec-1984
Canlii Ontario – Superior Court of Justice – The defendants operated an automobile-racing amusement ride on land adjacent to the plaintiffs’ motels. The plaintiffs and their customers complained of the noise . .
CitedTetley v Chitty 1986
A local council had granted planning permission to a go-kart club to develop a go-kart track on land owned by the authority, and had granted the club a seven year lease to use it for that express purpose.
Held: The council were held liable in . .
CitedChartered Trust Plc v Davies CA 31-Jul-1997
. .
CitedSimmons v Castle CA 10-Oct-2012
The court amended its earlier judgment as to the overall increase in the level of damages to be awarded in personal injury cases.
The system enacted in the 1999 Act remains in force in relation to litigation brought pursuant to conditional fee . .
CitedCampbell v MGN Ltd (No 2) HL 20-Oct-2005
The appellant sought to challenge the level of costs sought by the claimant after she had succeeded in her appeal to the House. Though a relatively small sum had been awarded, the costs and success fee were very substantial. The newspaper claimed . .

Cited by:
Adjourned fromCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 22-Jul-2015
The appellants challenged the compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights of the system for recovery of costs in civil litigation in England and Wales following the passing of the Access to Justice Act 1999. The parties had been . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Costs, Litigation Practice

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.535436

Dobson and others v Thames Water Utilities Ltd and Another: CA 29 Jan 2009

The claimants complained of odours and mosquitoes affecting their properties from the activities of the defendants in the conduct of their adjoining Sewage Treatment plant. The issue was as to the rights of non title holders to damages in nuisance and related causes.
Held: Damages in nuisance are for injury to the property and not to the sensibilities of the occupiers. That is so as much for the case of the transitory nuisance interfering with comfort and enjoyment of the land as it is for the case of the nuisance which occasions permanent injury to the land and to its capital value, or other pecuniary loss. However ‘the actual impact upon the occupiers of the land, although not formally the measure of common law damages for loss of amenity, will in practice be relevant to the assessment of such damages in many cases, including such as the present where a family home is in question and no physical injury to the property, loss of capital value, loss of rent or other pecuniary damage, arises.’ The court could not say whether the child of the family might be entitled to an award. That would have to be established at trial.
Waller LJ said: ‘If the house in question was available to be let during the period of the nuisance, it may be that there would be direct market evidence of loss of rental value. Otherwise, it is perhaps inevitable that the assessment of damages for loss of amenity will involve a considerable degree of imprecision. But if estate agents are to assist in placing a value on the relevant intangibles, whether by calculating the reduction in letting value of the property for the period of the nuisance or in some other way, we would expect them in practice to take into account, for the purposes of their assessment, the actual experience of the persons in occupation of the property during the relevant period. As Lord Hoffmann observed, the measure of damages for loss of amenity will be affected by the size and commodiousness of the property. If the nature of the property is that of a family home and the property is occupied in practice by a family of the size for which it is suited, the experience of the members of that family is likely to be the best evidence available of how amenity has been affected in practical terms, upon which the financial assessment of diminution of amenity value must depend.’

Waller LJ, Richards LJ, Hughes LJ
[2009] EWCA Civ 28, [2007] HRLR 45, 116 Con LR 135, [2007] CILL 2518, [2007] BLR 465, [2007] TCLR 7, [2008] Env LR 21, [2007] NPC 102, [2008] 2 All ER 362
Bailii, Times
Water Industry Act 1991 18
England and Wales
Citing:
LeaveDobson and others v Thames Utilities CA 18-Mar-2008
Claim for orders re management of sewerage works – smell and mosquitoes. Leave to appeal granted. . .
Appeal fromDobson and others v Thames Water Utilities Ltd and Another TCC 24-Aug-2007
The several claimants sought damages from the defendants for nuisance from mosquitoes which collected at the defendant’s sewage works. . .
CitedMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited HL 4-Dec-2003
The claimant’s house was regularly flooded by waters including also foul sewage from the respondent’s neighbouring premises. He sought damages and an injunction. The defendants sought to restrict the claimant to his statutory rights.
Held: The . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedFadeyeva v Russia ECHR 9-Jun-2005
ECHR Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) – Violation of Art. 8; Pecuniary damage – claim rejected; Non-pecuniary damage – financial award; Costs and expenses partial award – domestic proceedings; Costs and . .
CitedBone v Seale CA 1975
The plaintiffs were the owners and occupiers of two adjoining properties. They claimed damages for nuisance by smell. The judge awarded over 6,000 pounds to each of the plaintiffs. The Court of Appeal reduced the sum to 1,000 pounds.
Held: the . .
CitedHunt v Severs HL 7-Sep-1994
The tortfeasor, a member of the claimant’s family provided her with voluntary nursing care after the injury. The equivalent cost of that care, was recoverable, but would be held on trust for the carer. The underlying rationale of English Law is to . .
CitedSt Helen’s Smelting Co v Tipping HL 1865
The defendant built a factory, from which the escaping chemical fumes damaged local trees.
Held: The defendant was liable even though the smelting was an ordinary business carried on properly, and even though the district surrounding was . .
CitedRuxley Electronics and Construction Ltd v Forsyth HL 29-Jun-1995
Damages on Construction not as Agreed
The appellant had contracted to build a swimming pool for the respondent, but, after agreeing to alter the specification to construct it to a certain depth, in fact built it to the original lesser depth, Damages had been awarded to the house owner . .
CitedAnufrijeva v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 22-Mar-2002
Three asylum-seekers brought claims of breach of their Article 8 rights. One complained of a local authority’s failure to provide accommodation to meet special needs, the other two of maladministration and delay in the handling of their asylum . .
CitedGreenfield, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 16-Feb-2005
The appellant had been charged with and disciplined for a prison offence. He was refused legal assistance at his hearing, and it was accepted that the proceedings involved the determination of a criminal charge within the meaning of article 6 of the . .
CitedDennis and Dennis v Ministry of Defence QBD 16-Apr-2003
The applicants owned a substantial property near an airbase. They complained that changes in the patterns of flying by the respondents were a nuisance and sought damages. Walcot Hall was subjected to very high noise levels from military aircraft. . .
CitedLopez Ostra v Spain ECHR 9-Dec-1994
A waste treatment plant was built close to the applicant’s home in an urban location and the plant released fumes and smells which caused health problems to local residents.
Held: A duty exists to take reasonable and appropriate measures to . .

Cited by:
AppliedLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others QBD 4-Mar-2011
The claimants had complained that motor-cycle and other racing activities on neighbouring lands were a noise nuisance, but the court also considered that agents of the defendants had sought to intimidate the claimants into not pursuing their action. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Utilities, Human Rights

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.280240

Adams v Ursell: ChD 17 Jan 1913

A house owner complained that his neighbur’s fish and chip shop was emitting odours which impinged on the enjoyment of his house.
Held: Such odours might amount to a sufficient interference to constitute a nuisance.

Swinfen Eady J
[1913] 1 Ch 269
Commonlii
England and Wales
Citing:
AppliedWalter v Selfe 1851
The burning of bricks on he defendant’s land was a nuisance to the plaintiff’s neighbouring house. An injunction was granted. The court should ask: ‘ought this inconvenience to be considered in fact as more than fanciful, more than one of mere . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.186354

Calvert v Gardiner and Others: QBD 10 May 2002

The claimant sought damages for nuisance in the form of the loud ringing of church bells. The claim was against the local church and also against the bishop.
Held: The ring of bells might in law amount to a nuisance, but the action against the Bishop was not going to succeed and was struck out. The management of the church bell ringing was specifically within the remit of the local church. The vicar had a degree of security of tenure, and the bishop had no disciplinary rights or other form of control which might make him potentially liable.

Mr Justice Burton
Times 22-Jul-2002

Ecclesiastical, Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.174420

Geddis v Proprietors of Bann Reservoir: HL 18 Feb 1878

The owner of land injured by operations authorised by statute ‘suffers a private loss for the public benefit’, and in the absence of clear statutory authority is unable to claim: ‘It is now thoroughly well established that no action will lie for doing that which the legislature has authorised, if it be done without negligence, although it does occasion damage to anyone.’
If the statutory power to plant was exercised without negligence, the highway authority would not be liable if the consequence of the growth and redevelopment of the tree throughout its normal life resulted in nuisance to users of the highway or adjoining owners or occupiers.
Lord Blackburn
(1878) 3 App Cas 430, [1878] UKLawRpAC 8
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDorset Yacht Co Ltd v Home Office HL 6-May-1970
A yacht was damaged by boys who had escaped from the supervision of prison officers in a nearby Borstal institution. The boat owners sued the Home Office alleging negligence by the prison officers.
Held: Any duty of a borstal officer to use . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedGorringe v Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council HL 1-Apr-2004
Statutory Duty Not Extended by Common Law
The claimant sought damages after a road accident. The driver came over the crest of a hill and hit a bus. The road was not marked with any warning as to the need to slow down.
Held: The claim failed. The duty could not be extended to include . .
CitedCapital and Counties Plc and Another v Hampshire County Council; Etc CA 20-Mar-1997
Three cases were brought against fire services after what were said to be negligent responses to call outs. On one, the fire brigade was called to a fire at office premises in Hampshire. The fire triggered the operation of a heat-activated sprinkler . .
CitedMichael and Others v The Chief Constable of South Wales Police and Another SC 28-Jan-2015
The claimants asserted negligence in the defendant in failing to provide an adequate response to an emergency call, leading, they said to the death of their daughter at the hands of her violent partner. They claimed also under the 1998 Act. The . .
CitedHurst and Another v Hampshire County Council CA 19-Jun-1997
A Local Authority is liable for any damage to adjacent property caused by the roots of a tree growing on the verge of a public highway.
Held: Pre-adoption trees vest in the highway authority for all purposes. . .
CitedDodson v Environment Agency QBD 28-Feb-2013
The claimant asserted that the steps taken by the defendant to encourage wildlife in the estuary had led to otters predating his fish farm stocks, and that the claimant had not been informed of this, in particular as to the construction of otter . .
CitedRobinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police SC 8-Feb-2018
Limits to Police Exemption from Liability
The claimant, an elderly lady was bowled over and injured when police were chasing a suspect through the streets. As they arrested him they fell over on top of her. She appealed against refusal of her claim in negligence.
Held: Her appeal . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 27 October 2021; Ref: scu.182786

St Anne’s Well Brewery Co v Roberts: 1928

Acton J
(1928) 140 LT 1
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromSt Anne’s Well Brewery Co v Roberts CA 2-Jan-1928
Scrutton LJ said: ‘Under those circumstances it appears to me that the cardinal thing which would have to be proved to establish any liability against anybody would be, namely, knowledge of the defect which ultimately resulted in the fall of the . .
CitedCoope and Others v Ward and Another CA 28-Jan-2015
The court was asked: ‘ (i) whether the Appellants, owed to the Respondents a ‘measured duty of care’ which, in certain circumstances, may arise as between adjoining landowners in respect of a hazard arising on their land without their fault; (ii) . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 October 2021; Ref: scu.542056

Gardner and Gardner v Davis and others: CA 15 Jul 1998

Three properties were dependent upon drainage through the plaintiff’s land. The soakaway system would not support increased usage. The appellant challenged an order denying an easement.
Held: The drainage easement was to be read according to the express words, construed within the context of the time when the easement was granted, and so that reasonable use was limited to the capacity of the drainage installed. Overflows of effluent onto the servient owner’s land from increased use were a nuisance and capable of restraint by injunction.
Lord Justice Mummery, Lord Justice May
Gazette 22-Jul-1998, [1998] EWCA Civ 1213
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedIngram v Morecroft 1863
‘… if a man enter into a covenant to do a particular thing, however absurd, the covenantee is entitled to have the covenant performed; …’ . .
CitedWood v Saunders 1875
The dominant land at the time of sale contained a house ‘adapted for about twenty-five inmates, and only part of the drainage of the house rain into the ditch or moat’ on land retained by the vendor. The purchaser subsequently extended the house, . .
CitedJones v Pritchard ChD 6-Feb-1908
The grant of an easement ordinarily carries with it the grant of such ancillary rights as are reasonably necessary to its exercise or enjoyment. However the grant of a right of way over a driveway cannot place on the servient owner the obligation to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 October 2021; Ref: scu.144692

Rainham Chemical Works Ltd (in liquidation) and others v Belvedere Fish Guano Co Ltd: HL 1921

At a time of war, a process was invented where picric acid was manufactured from dinitrophenol (DNP) and nitrate of soda. DNP had been used mainly for the manufacture of dyes, and was a stable compound which did not explode easily. It was not in itself dangerous. Nitrate of soda was not an explosive but wood or bags impregnated with moist nitrate of soda will, when dry, burn fiercely if ignited. A hot flame is needed to ignite it and when ignited, large quantities of DNP become a dangerous explosive. While neither DNP nor nitrate of soda was, in itself, dangerous, they became a source of danger if stored in quantities and in close proximity to one another. It was proved that that was the cause of a massive explosion which caused damage to neighbouring property. On the evidence the manufacture of picric acid from DNP and nitrate of soda might or might not be dangerous in its character, but in that case it was being manufactured under dangerous conditions, and those dangerous conditions caused the accident. Accordingly the principle of Rylands v. Fletcher became applicable. It was not, per Lord Carson, ‘seriously argued’ that the defendant company was not liable for the damages caused by the explosion. Before Scrutton LJ, the trial judge, it was admitted that the person in possession of the DNP was liable under the rule in Rylands v. Fletcher for the consequences of the explosion.
Held: The disputed question was whether responsibility lay at the door of the defendant company or the personal defendants who had a licence from the inventor to manufacture the required picric acid.
Lord Buckmaster said: ‘Now, the foundation of the action was a claim based upon the familiar doctrine established by the case of Fletcher v. Rylands, which depends upon this – that even apart from negligence the use of land by one person in an exceptional manner that causes damage to another, and not necessarily an adjacent owner, is actionable: . .In the present case the use complained of was that for the purpose of making munitions, which was certainly not the common and ordinary use of the land, two substances, namely, nitrate of soda and dinitrophenol, were stored in close proximity, with the result that on a fire breaking out they exploded with terrific violence. It may be accepted that it was not known to either of the defendants that this danger existed, but that in itself affords no excuse, and the result is that the plaintiffs’ cause of action is well founded and the only matter for determination is against whom the action should be brought.’ . . and ‘If the company was really trading independently on its own account, the fact that it was directed by Messrs Feldman and Partridge would not render them responsible for its tortious acts unless, indeed, they were acts expressly directed by them. If a company is formed for the express purpose of doing a wrongful act or if, when formed, those in control expressly direct that a wrongful thing be done, the individuals as well as the company are responsible for the consequences, but there is no evidence in the present case to establish liability under either of these heads.’
Lord Buckmaster
[1921] 2 AC 465, [1921] All ER 48
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedMCA Records Inc and Another v Charly Records Ltd and others (No 5) CA 5-Oct-2001
The court discussed the personal liability of a director for torts committed by his company: ‘i) a director will not be treated as liable with the company as a joint tortfeasor if he does no more than carry out his constitutional role in the . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedCampbell v Gordon SC 6-Jul-2016
The employee was injured at work, but in a way excluded from the employers insurance cover. He now sought to make the sole company director liable, hoping in term to take action against the director’s insurance brokers for negligence, the director . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 October 2021; Ref: scu.188016

Rushmer v Polsue and Alfieri Limited: CA 1906

The court considered the question of whether excess noise could constitute a nuisance.
Held: The court rejected the argument that a resident of a district specially devoted to a particular trade cannot complained of nuisance by noise caused by the carrying on of a branch of that trade short of proving carelessness and unreasonable use. However, a resident in a noisy district must put up with a certain amount of noise, and the standard of ordinary comfort will differ according to the situation of the property and the class of people who inhabit it. The approach is therefore whether ‘the addition of a fresh noise caused by the defendant’s works may be so substantial as to create a legal nuisance’.
Cozens-Hardy LJ said: ‘I think the addition of a fresh noise caused by the defendant’s works may be so substantial as to create a legal nuisance. It does not follow that because I live, say, in the manufacturing part of Sheffield I cannot complain if a steam-hammer is introduced next door, and so worked as to render sleep at night almost impossible, although previously to its introduction my house was a reasonably comfortable abode, having regard to the local standard; and it would be no answer to say that the steam-hammer is of the most modern approved pattern and is reasonably worked. In short, if a substantial addition is found as a fact in any particular case, it is no answer to say that the neighbourhood is noisy, and that the defendant’s machinery is of first-class character.’ and ‘A resident in such a neighbourhood must put up with a certain amount of noise. The standard of comfort differs according to the situation of the property and the class of people who inhabit it.’
Cozens-Hardy LJ
[1906] Ch D 234
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDennis and Dennis v Ministry of Defence QBD 16-Apr-2003
The applicants owned a substantial property near an airbase. They complained that changes in the patterns of flying by the respondents were a nuisance and sought damages. Walcot Hall was subjected to very high noise levels from military aircraft. . .
Appeal fromPolsue and Alfieri v Rushmer HL 1907
The House approved a decision that a person purchasing property in an industrial district may be unable to claim for noise nuisance. Lord Loreburn LC said that (i) whether an activity gives rise to a nuisance may depend on the character of the . .
CitedMurdoch and Another v Glacier Metal Company Limited CA 19-Jan-1998
Excess noise by nearby factory above World Health Organisation level was not an actionable nuisance. It was a question for each factual situation. An allowance had to be made for the character of the neighbourhood. . .
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 12 September 2021; Ref: scu.182121

Rapier v London Tramways Co: CA 16 May 1893

The defendants were a Tramway company who were empowered by their Act to lay down and construct two lines of Tramway according to deposited plans, together with the works and conveniences connected therewith. The Act gave no compulsory powers for taking lands and made no special mention of building stables. The defendants constructed the lines, and built some large blocks of stables near the plaintiff’s house for the horses employed in drawing the cars. The plaintiff complained of the smell caused by the stables, and brought an action for an injunction to restrain the defendants from using the stables so as to cause a nuisance.
Held: (affirming the decision of Kekewich J) that although the horses were necessary for the working of the tramways, the company were not justified by the statutory powers in using the stables so as to be a nuisance to their neighbours, and that it was no sufficient defence to say that they had taken all reasonable care to prevent it.
If the noise and the smell from the stabling for large numbers of horses (used to pull trams) is intolerable in a densely-populated residential neighbourhood, it is no defence that the defendant has used all reasonable care to minimise the annoyance.
[1893] 2 Ch 588, [1893] UKLawRpCh 77
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 29 August 2021; Ref: scu.188043

Fearn and Others v The Board of Trustees of The Tate Gallery: CA 12 Feb 2020

The claimants asserted that the construction of the Tate Modern Gallery allowed its visitors
Sir Terence Etherton MR, Lord Justice Lewison, Lady Justice Rose DBE
[2020] EWCA Civ 104, [2020] 2 WLR 1081
Bailii, Bailii Summary
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromFearn and Others v The Board of Trustees of The Tate Gallery ChD 12-Feb-2019
The claimant owners of glass walled apartments complained that the erection of a new walkway by the defendant which gave members of the public views into the claimants’ living spaces was a nuisance and an infringement of their human rights to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 25 August 2021; Ref: scu.648153

Fearn and Others v The Board of Trustees of The Tate Gallery: ChD 12 Feb 2019

The claimant owners of glass walled apartments complained that the erection of a new walkway by the defendant which gave members of the public views into the claimants’ living spaces was a nuisance and an infringement of their human rights to privacy and otherwise.
Held: The claimants had failed to establish either nuisance or an infringement of their human rights.
On the direct claim in privacy under section 6 of the HRA 1998 and Article 8 of the Convention, the Judge concluded that the Tate does not have, or in this case was not exercising, functions of a public nature within the HRA 1998. Accordingly, the direct privacy claim failed, and the Judge said that he did not have to consider how Article 8 would have operated had the Tate been a public authority.
If there was a nuisance, it would have to be the kind of nuisance caused by interference with a neighbour’s quiet enjoyment of their land, and the first issue was whether that type of nuisance is capable of including invasion of privacy. Had it been necessary to do so, he would have concluded that the tort of nuisance, absent statute, would probably have been capable, as a matter of principle, of protecting privacy rights, at least in a domestic home. If there were any doubt about that, then that doubt had been removed by the HRA 1998 and Article 8 of the Convention; and that, if it did not do so before the HRA 1998, since that Act the law of nuisance ought to be, and is, capable of protecting privacy rights from overlooking in an appropriate case.
The locality was a part of urban South London used for a mixture of residential, cultural, tourist and commercial purposes but the significant factor was that it is an inner city urban environment, with a significant amount of tourist activity. An occupier in that environment can expect rather less privacy than perhaps a rural occupier might, and that anyone who lives in an inner city can expect to live quite cheek by jowl with neighbours.
There was nothing unreasonable about the use of the Tate’s land per se, in its context. He took into account the restrictions imposed by the Tate on the use of the viewing gallery both in respect of times for viewing and the other steps mentioned above.
By incorporating the winter gardens into the living accommodation, the owners and occupiers of the flats had created their own additional sensitivity to the inward gaze, and the claimants were, therefore, occupying a particularly sensitive property which they were operating in a way which had increased the sensitivity. There was a parallel with nuisance cases in which the claim had failed because the claimant’s user which had been adversely affected by the claimant’s activity was a particularly sensitive one and that an ordinary use would not have been adversely affected.
The claimants might have taken several steps to mitigate the intrusion.
Mann J
[2019] EWHC 246 (Ch), [2019] 2 WLR 1335, [2019] WLR(D) 91, [2019] Ch 369
Bailii, WLRD
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedScott v LGBT Foundation Ltd QBD 3-Mar-2020
Disclosure of risk of self harm made no claim
The claimant complained that the respondent support group had disclosed to his doctor that fact that they had assessed him as being at significant risk of suicide or other substantial self-harm, and that it was at that time unable to provide Mr . .
Appeal fromFearn and Others v The Board of Trustees of The Tate Gallery CA 12-Feb-2020
The claimants asserted that the construction of the Tate Modern Gallery allowed its visitors . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 25 August 2021; Ref: scu.633424

Bamford v Turnley: 5 Nov 1860

An action lies for a nuisance to the house or land of a person, whenever, taking all the circumstances into consideration, including the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s enjoyment before the act complained of, the annoyance is sufficiently great to amount to a nuisance according to the ordinary rule of law; and this whatever he locality may be where he act is done; and where, on trial of such an action, it appears that the act complained of was done on the land of the defendant, the jury cannot properly be asked whether the causing of the nuisance was a reasonable use by the defendant of his own land.
Bramwell B said: ‘There must be, then, some principle on which such cases must be excepted. It seems to me that that principle may be deduced from the character of these cases, and is this, viz: that those acts necessary for the common and ordinary use and occupation of land and houses may be done, if conveniently done, without subjecting those who do them to an action . . There is an obvious necessity for such a principle as I have mentioned. It is as much for the advantage of one owner as of another; for the very nuisance the one complains of, as the result of the ordinary use of his neighbour’s land, he himself will create in the ordinary use of his own, and the reciprocal nuisances are of a comparatively trifling character. The convenience of such a rule may be indicated by calling it a rule of give and take, live and let live.’
Erle CJ, Williams and Keating JJ, Bramwell and Wilde BB
[1860] EngR 1082, (1860) 3 B and S 62, (1860) 122 ER 25
Commonlii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoBamford v Turnley 1860
Brick-kilns near a dwelling-house, purchased with notice, held, no nuisance, and, on a count for keeping ash heaps in the process of brick-making, plaintiff held entitled only to nominal damage. . .

Cited by:
See AlsoBamford v Turnley 2-Jul-1862
The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment . .
CitedSouthwark London Borough Council v Mills/Tanner; Baxter v Camden London Borough Council HL 21-Oct-1999
Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .
CitedWoodland v Essex County Council SC 23-Oct-2013
The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 22 August 2021; Ref: scu.285921

Bamford v Turnley: 2 Jul 1862

The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment of his own land.
Pollock CB said: ‘I do not think that the nuisance for which an action will lie is capable of any legal definition which will be applicable to all cases and useful in deciding them. The question so entirely depends on the surrounding circumstances, the place where, the time when, the alleged nuisance, what the mode of committing it, how, and the duration of it, whether temporary or permanent, occasional or continual, as to make it impossible to lay down any rule of law applicable to every case and which will also be useful in assisting a jury to come to a satisfactory conclusion, it must at all times be a question of fact with reference to all the circumstances of the case.’ A landowner will not be liable in nuisance for the consequences of what would be recognised as a natural use of his land by him, unless the quality or extent of that use by him was unreasonable: ‘ . . those acts necessary for the common and ordinary use and occupation of land and houses may be done, if conveniently done, without subjecting those who do them to an action.’
Bramwell B, Pollock CB
[1862] LR 3 BandS 62, [1862] EWHC Exch J63, [1862] EngR 907, (1862) 3 B and S 66, (1862) 122 ER 27
Bailii, Commonlii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoBamford v Turnley 1860
Brick-kilns near a dwelling-house, purchased with notice, held, no nuisance, and, on a count for keeping ash heaps in the process of brick-making, plaintiff held entitled only to nominal damage. . .
See AlsoBamford v Turnley 5-Nov-1860
An action lies for a nuisance to the house or land of a person, whenever, taking all the circumstances into consideration, including the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s enjoyment before the act complained of, the annoyance is sufficiently great . .

Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedArscott and others v Coal Authority and Another CA 13-Jul-2004
The defendant had deposited coal wastes. When the river Taff flooded, the spoil heaps diverted the floods to damage the claimants’ homes. They appealed refusal of their claims in nuisance. The judge applied the common enemy rule: ‘an owner or . .
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
CitedAnthony and others v The Coal Authority QBD 28-Jul-2005
The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
CitedSouthwark London Borough Council v Mills/Tanner; Baxter v Camden London Borough Council HL 21-Oct-1999
Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .
CitedWoodland v Essex County Council SC 23-Oct-2013
The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 22 August 2021; Ref: scu.188038

Solloway v Hampshire County Council: CA 1981

Tree root damage had occurred following two successive very hot and dry summers in 1975 and 1976, in an area where the subsoil was almost all gravel but where, as it happened, under the plaintiff’s house there were pockets of clay. An issue arose as to the foreseeability of there being pockets of clay in the gravel upon which the damaged houses predominantly sat. Another issue concerned the question whether any operation on the trees, short of felling them, would have eliminated the risk posed by the roots if there were exceptionally dry weather and if those roots were passing through clay. At first instance, judgment was given for the plaintiffs in nuisance.
Held: The council’s appeal succeeded. The judge had been wrong to hold that damage to the plaintiff’s house from the tree roots was a reasonably foreseeable risk. The existence of clay pockets under a house such that of the plaintiff was no more than an outside chance, and balancing that risk with the steps that would have been necessary for the defendants to have dealt with the risk, there was no breach of duty on the part of the defendant council.
Dunne LJ said: ‘The duty in respect of the nuisance arises if the encroachment of the roots is known, or ought to be known, to the owner, occupier or other person responsible for the tree and its maintenance, if the encroachment is such as to give rise to a reasonably foreseeable risk that such encroachment will cause damage.’
Sir David Cairns said: ‘To say that a risk of damage is reasonably foreseeable means that it is foreseeable, not merely as a theoretical possibility but as something, the chance of which occurring, is such that a reasonable man would consider it necessary to take account of it. The risk of being struck by lightning when one goes for a walk is not a reasonably foreseeable risk. I should be prepared to hold that the risk in this case was not a reasonably foreseeable risk. If, however, it could be said to be a reasonably foreseeable risk, I am satisfied that it was a risk, such that the cost and inconvenience of taking any effective steps to remove it or reduce it would be quite out of proportion to that risk. There is nothing in the evidence to show that No. 72 Shirley Avenue was any more at risk than any other house in the Avenue. Nor is there anything to show that any operation on the trees, short of felling, would have made the roots safe if there were exceptionally dry weather and if the roots of any particular tree were passing through clay’.
Dunne LJ, Sir David Cairns
(1981) 79 LGR 449, [1981] 1 WLR 1
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSolloway v Hampshire County Council CA 1981
Tree root damage had occurred following two successive very hot and dry summers in 1975 and 1976, in an area where the subsoil was almost all gravel but where, as it happened, under the plaintiff’s house there were pockets of clay. An issue arose as . .

Cited by:
CitedKirk and others v London Borough of Brent CA 8-Dec-2005
The defendant council had obtained a strike out of the claimant’s assertion that they were responsible in nuisance for damages caused by tree roots.
Held: The claimant’s appeal against the striking out of his claim succeeded. While the simple . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedBerent v Family Mosaic Housing and Others TCC 25-May-2011
The claimant sought damages for subsidence to her property allegedly caused by the roots of trees on the defendants’ properties. Two large plane trees stood in the pavement outside the house and about 12 metres from it. . .
CitedLE Jones (Insurance Brokers) Ltd v Portsmouth City Council CA 7-Nov-2002
The Council appealed against a finding that it was liable for damage to the claimant’s property caused by the roots of trees on the highway maintained by the appellant. The Council asked whether it was the correct defendant having acted as agent for . .
CitedSolloway v Hampshire County Council CA 1981
Tree root damage had occurred following two successive very hot and dry summers in 1975 and 1976, in an area where the subsoil was almost all gravel but where, as it happened, under the plaintiff’s house there were pockets of clay. An issue arose as . .
CitedRobbins v London Borough of Bexley CA 17-Oct-2013
robbins_bexleyCA1013
The claimant said that his house had been damaged by tree roots for which the appellant was responsible. The trees were 33 metres from the house.
Held: The appeal failed. The immediate cause of the damage was a failure to do something which . .
CitedHurst and Another v Hampshire County Council CA 19-Jun-1997
A Local Authority is liable for any damage to adjacent property caused by the roots of a tree growing on the verge of a public highway.
Held: Pre-adoption trees vest in the highway authority for all purposes. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 August 2021; Ref: scu.241665

Bamford v Turnley: 1860

Brick-kilns near a dwelling-house, purchased with notice, held, no nuisance, and, on a count for keeping ash heaps in the process of brick-making, plaintiff held entitled only to nominal damage.
[1860] EngR 10, (1860) 2 F and F 231, (1860) 175 ER 1037
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
See AlsoBamford v Turnley 5-Nov-1860
An action lies for a nuisance to the house or land of a person, whenever, taking all the circumstances into consideration, including the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s enjoyment before the act complained of, the annoyance is sufficiently great . .
See AlsoBamford v Turnley 2-Jul-1862
The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 August 2021; Ref: scu.284849

Dunne v North Western Gas Board: CA 1964

Works carried out by virtue of a statutory authority are a recognised exemption to liability under the rule in Rylands -v- Fletcher. The defendant’s liability in Rylands: ‘could simply have been placed on the defendants’ failure of duty to take reasonable care’.
The rule in Rylands v Fletcher is excluded for works constructed or conducted under statutory authority.
Sellers LJ, delivering the judgment of the Court of Appeal, said: ‘Where there is a mandatory obligation . . there would be, in our opinion, no liability if what had been done was that which was expressly required by statute to be done or was reasonably incidental to that requirement and was done without negligence.’
Sellers LJ
[1964] 2 QB 806
England and Wales
Citing:
ExplainedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 August 2021; Ref: scu.188032

Attorney-General v Corke: ChD 1933

The defendant whose land had been occupied by caravan dwellers for profit was liable in public nuisance and under the rule in Rylands v Fletcher and was restrained by injunction. Offending acts had been committed by the caravan dwellers, who were permitted to occupy the defendant’s land, on other land in the neighbourhood. Bennett J rejected the submission of the defendant’s counsel that: ‘The defendant cannot be made responsible for acts done by the caravan dwellers off the defendant’s property.’
Liability was established under the principle in Rylands v. Fletcher, which: ‘affords in my judgment a basis on which the defendant can be made responsible in law for the nuisance which undoubtedly exists, on the facts, in the vicinity of this camp and which nuisance is caused by some of the people whom he brings there for his own profit’
Bennett J said: ‘The acts which, I think, give rise to a danger to the health of the neighbourhood, are acts done, not on the defendant’s land, but off it by people who live on it’ and
‘The plaintiffs have, however, failed to prove that anything done on the defendant’s land gives rise to a complaint by the neighbours . . All the acts which do interfere with the comfort and convenience of the neighbourhood, and which threaten the health of the neighbourhood, are acts done not on the defendant’s land, but off it, by people whom the defendant brings on to it for his profit’
Bennett J
[1933] Ch 89
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher CEC 1865
Mr Fletcher’s Lancashire coal mine was flooded by the water from Mr Rylands’ mill reservoir in 1860-61.
Held: Mr Rylands was responsible. Blackburn J said: ‘We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings . .

Cited by:
CitedLippiatt and Febry v South Gloucestershire County Council CA 31-Mar-1999
The defendant had failed to remove travellers who had encamped on its land and caused nuisances against neighbouring farmers.
Held: The court refused to strike out a claim in nuisance by neighbouring land owners. It was arguable that a land . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 06 August 2021; Ref: scu.445031

Noble v Harrison: CA 1926

A tree shed a limb onto a passer-by, causing personal injury. The Court of Appeal reversed the original finding in favour of the claimant because the defect could not have been discovered by inspection. A land-owner may become liable for a naturally occurring danger arising on his land if he fails to remedy it within a reasonable time of being made aware of it, or from when he ought to have been aware of it. Rowlatt J said: ‘a person is liable for a nuisance constituted by the state of his property: (1) if he causes it; (2) if by neglect of some duty he allowed it to arise; and (3) if, when it has arisen without his own act or default, he omits to remedy it within a reasonable time after he did or ought to have become aware of it’. However: ‘I see no ground for holding that the owner is to become an insurer of nature, or that default is to be imputed to him until it appears, or would appear upon proper inspection, that nature can no longer be relied upon . .’
Rowlatt J
[1926] 2 KB 332
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedChapman v London Borough of Barking and Dagenham CA 13-Jul-1998
The plaintiff was severely injured when a branch was broken from a tree in a high wind, and fell onto the van he was driving. The land-owner appealed a finding of liability in nuisance.
Held: The local authority were also the highway . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedStagecoach South Western Trains Ltd v Hind and Another TCC 11-Jun-2014
A train crash was caused when an ash tree fell from the defendant’s land across the railway line. The company sought damages from the land-owner.
Held: The land-owner’s duty extended no further than the carrying out of periodic informal or . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 04 August 2021; Ref: scu.216495

East Northamptonshire District Council v Brian Fossett: 1994

The case involved an allegation of noise, a nuisance at an all night rave. No works were required to abate the nuisance and whether the 1990 Act had created any fundamental change in the law, as the Council claims, was not raised.
[1994] Env LR 388
Environmental Protection Act 1990
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedKirklees Metropolitan Council v Field; Thackray; Marsh and Wilson Admn 31-Oct-1997
An abatement notice requiring works to be carried out must state clearly what works are required or considered necessary. There was an imminent danger of the collapse onto some cottages of a rockface and wall where the notice was addressed to the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 30 July 2021; Ref: scu.184807

London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Co v Truman: 1885

Lord Halsbury LC described the idea that it was a defence to nuisance to say that the plaintiff came to it as an ‘old notion . . long since exploded’
(1885) LR 11 App Cas 45
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedCoventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC 26-Feb-2014
C operated a motor racing circuit as tenant. The neighbour L objected that the noise emitted by the operations were a nuisance. C replied that the fact of his having planning consent meant that it was not a nuisance.
Held: The neighbour’s . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 22 July 2021; Ref: scu.536796

Musgrove v Pandelis: CA 2 Jan 1919

The plaintiff ((M) rented first floor rooms above the defendant’s garage. The defendant’s employee spilt petrol which was lit, and negligently failed to control it causing a fire, damaging the plaintiff’s rooms.
Held: The Act did not provide a defence if the fire started accidentally but was then continued and not extinguished by the negligence of the householder.
Bankes LJ set out of the common law before liability for fire was restricted by statute, saying: ‘A man was liable at common law for damage done by fire originating on his own property (1) for the mere escape of the fire; (2) if the fire was caused by the negligence of himself or his servants, or by his own wilful act; (3) upon the principle of Rylands v Fletcher. This principle was not then known by that name, because Rylands v Fletcher was not then decided; but it was an existing principle of the common law as I shall show presently.’ Filliter v Phippard had decided that a fire negligently begun was not protected by the statute; and asked: ‘Why, if that is the law as to the second head of liability, should it be otherwise as to the third head, the liability on the principle of Rylands v Fletcher? If that liability existed, there is no reason why the statute should alter it and yet leave untouched the liability for fire caused by negligence or design. That the principle of Rylands v Fletcher existed long before that case was decided is plain. In Vaughan v Menlove Tindal CJ says: ‘There is a rule of law which says you must so enjoy your own property as not to injure that of another.’ Park J says: ‘Although the facts in this case are new in specie, they fall within a principle long established, that a man must so use his own property as not to injure that of others.’ Rylands v Fletcher is merely an illustration of that old principle, and in my opinion Lush J was right in saying that this case, if it falls within that principle, is not within the protection of the statute.’
Warrington LJ approved the comment of Lush J at first instance: ‘If this motor car with the petrol in its tank was potentially dangerous, such as a man’s own fire, then it was the defendant’s duty to see that the potential danger did not become an actual danger causing damage to his neighbour. The Act of Geo. 3 is no protection against that liability.’
Duke LJ used different reasoning. Although he applied Rylands v Fletcher applied, he went on to consider whether the fire was accidental for the purposes of section 86. He said: ‘I do not see how this case can be taken out of the principle of Rylands v Fletcher, which was thus stated by Lord Cairns LC in the very words of Blackburn J: ‘The true rule of law is, that the person who, for his own purposes, brings on his land and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at his peril.’ He can excuse himself by showing that the escape was owing to the plaintiff’s default or perhaps that it was the consequence of vis major or the act of God. In the present case there was petrol which was easily convertible into an inflammable vapour; there was the apparatus for producing a spark; and added to those there was a person supposed to control the combustion but inexperienced and unequal to the task. Taking together the presence of the petrol, and the production of the inflammable gas, or those combustibles together with the inexperience of the person placed in charge of them, it is impossible to say that this is not an instance of the principle laid down by Blackburn J.’
. . ‘That would dispose of this case but for the defendant’s contention that he is excused by s. 86 of the Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act, 1774. In my opinion the terms of that enactment fall far short of showing a definite intention to relieve a defendant in such a case as this. The actions against which the statute gives protection are in respect of fires which shall accidentally begin. I have the greatest doubt whether this fire began accidentally at any stage. If it was all one fire, it was begun not accidentally but intentionally. If progressive stages may be regarded it was not a fire which began accidentally without negligence at the stage when it became a conflagration involving goods and premises. The question may some day be discussed whether a fire, spreading from a domestic hearth, accidentally begins within the meaning of the Act, if such a fire should extend so as to involve the destruction of property or premises. I do not covet the task of the advocate who has to contend that it does. In the present case the fire, so far as it was a means of mischief, resulted from the negligent omission to turn off the petrol tap, an act which would have stopped the flow of petrol. All the witnesses who had any experience of such matters drew a distinction between fire in a carburettor, where the vapour can be instantly out off, and such a fire as occurred in this case. The learned judge has found that this fire was due to negligence. I cannot disagree with him. Whatever may be the effect of the Act of Geo. 3 upon the nice questions that have been discussed, this case is outside any possible protection of that statute.’
Bankes LJ, Warrington LJ, Duke LJ
[1919] 2 KB 43
Fires Prevention (Metropolis) Act 1774
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromMusgrove v Pandelis 1919
Mr Musgrove rented rooms above a domestic garage, in which Mr Pandelis kept a car. Mr Pandelis sent his chauffeur, Mr Coumis, to clean the car. Mr Coumis had to move the car within the garage. For that purpose he went to the bonnet and turned on the . .
CitedVaughan v Menlove 1837
The defendant had been advised of the probable consequences of allowing a stack of damp hay, which he had erected without proper ventilation, to remain in this condition. Subsequently the hay spontaneously ignited damaging the plaintiff’s house. At . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedFilliter v Phippard 9-Dec-1847
Lord Denman CJ considered a 1707 Act restricting liability for fire damage: ‘The Act contemplates the probability of fires in cities and towns arising from three causes, the want of water, the imperfection of party walls, and the negligence of . .

Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
Wrong in partStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedJob Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors CA 1924
Land next to the canal was used for the deposit of refuse by trespassers. The mound spread until, for a fee, it was dumped also across the canal. It caught fire, and the fire spread toward the canal. By agreement the parties got together to put out . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 July 2021; Ref: scu.188044

Thomas v National Union of Mineworkers (South Wales Area): ChD 1985

Threats made by pickets to those miners who sought to go to work were not an assault because the pickets had no capacity to put into effect their threats of violence whilst they were held back from the vehicles which the working miners were within. The plaintiffs were, however, entitled to enjoy their right to use the highway to go to work without unreasonable harassment and that picketing by 50 to 70 striking miners shouting abuse was a tortious interference with that right. The actions of the striking miners were therefore actionable in nuisance.
Scot J
[1986] Ch 20, [1985] 2 All ER 1, [1985] IRLR 157, [1985] ICR 886, [1985] 2 WLR 1081
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedThe Catholic Child Welfare Society and Others v Various Claimants and The Institute of The Brothers of The Christian Schools and Others SC 21-Nov-2012
Law of vicarious liability is on the move
Former children at the children’s homes had sought damages for sexual and physical abuse. The court heard arguments as to the vicarious liability of the Society for abuse caused by a parish priest visiting the school. The Court of Appeal had found . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 24 June 2021; Ref: scu.466788

Corporation of Greenock v Caledonian Railway Company: HL 1917

The West Burn flowed in a channel considerably below the surrounding ground which drained into it and in particular was below the level of Inverkip Road. In 1908, in order to form a playground for children, the natural channel of the West Burn was altered. A culvert was constructed and the burn buried. The surface of the park thereafter sloped down to Inverkip Road, which had become the lowest level and the channel for surface water which formerly drained into the burn. In addition, the defendants constructed a paddling pool at the mouth of the culvert which obstructed the flow of water and it was admitted that those works obstructed about ‘half the flow of water which would otherwise go down the culvert’. Flooding occurred in 1909 and then on the occasion with which the action was concerned in August 1912. The question asked was whether the defendants could establish ‘damnum fatale’ in the law of Scotland, hich, would approximate to act of God in English law. Lord Shaw assumed that there was no difference on the topic between the law of England and that of Scotland.
Held: The appellants had failed to establish any defence: ‘It is true that the flood was of extraordinary violence, but floods of extraordinary violence must be anticipated as likely to take place from time to time. It is the duty of any one who interferes with the course of a stream to see that the works which he substitutes for the channel provided by nature are adequate to carry off the water brought down even by extraordinary rainfall, and if damage results from the deficiency of the substitute which he has provided for the natural channel he will be liable. Such damage is not in the nature of damnum fatale, but is the direct result of the obstruction of a natural watercourse by the defenders’ works followed by heavy rain’.
Lord Finlay LC, Lord Shaw
[1917] AC 556
Scotland
Cited by:
AdoptedPemberton v Bright and Another CA 1960
A culvert had been altered and extended in 1926 and the entrance left uncovered and unprotected.
Held: The interference with the flow of water created a potential nuisance in that ‘heavy rain was always a potential danger unless properly . .
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 June 2021; Ref: scu.220837

Hurst and Another v Hampshire County Council: CA 19 Jun 1997

A Local Authority is liable for any damage to adjacent property caused by the roots of a tree growing on the verge of a public highway.
Held: Pre-adoption trees vest in the highway authority for all purposes.
Stuart-Smith, Morritt L, Sir John Balcombe
Times 26-Jun-1997, [1997] EWCA Civ 1901, (1997) 96 LGR 27
Bailii
Highways Act 1980 96(6), Road Improvements Act 1925 1(1) 1(2) 1(5)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedSolloway v Hampshire County Council CA 1981
Tree root damage had occurred following two successive very hot and dry summers in 1975 and 1976, in an area where the subsoil was almost all gravel but where, as it happened, under the plaintiff’s house there were pockets of clay. An issue arose as . .
CitedGoodtitle, Ex Dimiss Chester v Alker and Elmes 28-Jan-1757
The owner of land over which ran a public highway did not lose any of his rights of ownership whether of the surface or subsoil. Any trees growing in the highway were his trees . .
CitedStovin v Wise, Norfolk County Council (Third Party) HL 24-Jul-1996
Statutory Duty Does Not Create Common Law Duty
The mere existence of statutory power to remedy a defect cannot of itself create a duty of care to do so. A highway authority need not have a duty of care to highway users because of its duty to maintain the highway. The two stage test ‘involves . .
CitedTurner v Ringwood Highway Board 1870
The highway extended to a width of 50 feet. After adoption trees grew in that part not used as the actual road.
Held: Once a highway exists the public has a right to use the whole of the width of the highway and not just that part of it . .
CitedCoverdale v Charlton CA 1878
By an award under an Inclosure Act passed in 1766 a private road E was set out. In about 1818 road E became a public highway. A local board was formed in 1863 and in 1876 the board let the pasturage upon E to the Plaintiff. He thereupon commenced to . .
CitedGeddis v Proprietors of Bann Reservoir HL 18-Feb-1878
The owner of land injured by operations authorised by statute ‘suffers a private loss for the public benefit’, and in the absence of clear statutory authority is unable to claim: ‘It is now thoroughly well established that no action will lie for . .
CitedStillwell v New Windsor Corporation 1932
The Plaintiff owned a house bounded on the west and north by public highways. There were a number of post-adoption trees of which the Plaintiff claimed the property. Having refused to comply with the Defendant’s notice to remove the trees on the . .
CitedRussell v London Borough of Barnet 1984
The Land Registry general boundaries rule operates so that although the land registry plan is placed inside a road, the ad medium filae presumption still operates as regards ownership of the soil. . .

Cited by:
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 June 2021; Ref: scu.142297

Tenant v Goldwin: 1704

He whose dirt it is must keep it that it may not trespass. The defendant was liable where he failed to maintain the partition wall in his privy so that the filth ran into the plaintiff’s cellar.
(1704) 2 Ld Raym 1089, [1704] Holt KB 500, [1704] 2 Ld Raym 1089, [1704] 6 Mod Rep 311, [1704] 91 ER 20, 314
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 01 June 2021; Ref: scu.188028

Nichols v Marsland: CA 1876

Flood following heavy rain was not negligent

The defendant was the owner of a series of artificial ornamental lakes, which had existed for a great number of years, and had never previous to 18th June, 1872 caused any damage. On that day, however, after a most unusual fall of rain, the lakes overflowed, the dams at their end gave way, and the water out of the lakes carried away the county bridges lower downstream.
Held: The jury found no negligence. An exceptionally heavy rainstorm was a sufficient excuse as an act of God, to escape liability under the rule in Rylands -v- Fletcher. Act of God is not, and never was, the same as inevitable accident or the absence of negligence. The defendant could not have anticipated the exceptional flood which caused her dam to break; no conduct of hers was a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damage.
Mellish LJ distinguished Ryland v Fletcher: ‘But the present case is distinguished from that of Rylands -v- Fletcher in this, that it is not the act of the defendant in keeping this reservoir, an act in itself lawful, which alone leads to the escape of the water, and so renders wrongful that which but for such escape would have been lawful. It is the supervening vis major of the water caused by the flood, which, superadded to the water in the reservoir (which of itself would have been innocuous), causes the disaster.’ and
‘The remaining question is, did the defendant make out that the escape of the water was owing to the act of God? Now the jury have distinctly found, not only that there was no negligence in the construction or the maintenance of the reservoirs, but that the flood was so great that it could not reasonably have been anticipated, although, if it had been anticipated the effect might have been prevented; and this seems to us in substance a finding that the escape of the water was owing to the act of God. However great the flood had been, if it had not been greater than floods that had happened before and might be expected to occur again, the defendant might not have made out that she was free from fault; but we think she ought not to be held liable because she did not prevent the effect of an extraordinary act of nature, which she could not anticipate.
It was indeed ingeniously argued for the appellant that at any rate the escape of the water was not owing solely to the act of God, because the weight of the water originally in the reservoirs must have contributed to break down the dams, as well as the extraordinary water brought in by the flood. We think, however, that the extraordinary quantity of water brought in by the flood is in point of law the sole proximate cause of the escape of the water. It is the last drop which makes the cup overflow.’
Mellish LJ
[1876] 2 Ex D 1
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
FollowedRickards v Lothian PC 11-Feb-1913
The claim arose because the outflow from a wash-basin on the top floor of premises was maliciously blocked and the tap left running, with the result that damage was caused to stock on a floor below.
Held: The provision of a domestic water . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 01 June 2021; Ref: scu.188033

Baird v Williamson: 1863

The parties worked mines on adjacent land. Water flooded the plaintiff’s mine and he sought damages from the defendant.
Held: He was liable. The water from the defendant’s mine had been raised to a higher level by pumping (‘non-naturally’) and then flowed into the other mine.
[1863] 15 CB(NS) 317
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 May 2021; Ref: scu.188027

Dale v Hall: 1750

Damage done by rats is not normally an act of God.
(1750) 1 Wils 281
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 May 2021; Ref: scu.188036

Hargroves, Aronson and Co v Hartopp: CA 1905

The tenants of a building of which the defendants were landlords sought damages after a rainwater gutter became stopped up and the defendants failed to clear it out for a few days after receiving notice of the stoppage.
Held: The landlords were in breach of a duty of care to the plaintiffs and were liable for the damage done. If a building owner retains common parts which have to be maintained to protect the safe use of the demised properties, he has an obligation to take reasonable care that the parts he retains are not in such a condition as to cause damage to the tenant or to the premises demised.
Lord Alverstone said: ‘A person who maintains an artificial thing like a gutter used for the very purpose of carrying off the rainwater from the roof in an improper condition after notice may be said, in my opinion to be guilty of an act of commission, and he is, in my opinion, under a duty to take care that as a result of that act no damage happens to the occupants of the house.’
Lord Alverstone
[1905] 1 KB 472
England and Wales
Cited by:
FollowedTennant Radiant Heat Ltd v Warrington Development Corporation 1988
A property comprised a large building let on fully repairing leases of 22 units. The many rain outlets were allowed to become blocked, and water accumulated above one unit before that part of the roof collapsed. The landlord appealed a finding that . .
CitedWestminster (Duke of) and others v Guild CA 30-Mar-1983
The landlord brought an action for non-payment of rent. The tenant sought to set off a failure by the landlord to repair the building of which his flat was part and which failure had caused him loss. The landlord said that it had no express duty to . .
CitedJackson v J H Watson Property Investment Ltd QBD 7-Jan-2008
The tenant claimant held under a 125 year lease of the defendant. A fault in a light well led to water ingress and damage. The fault was in the landlord’s land but not the flat. The tenant alleged a nuisance by the landlords. The landlord replied . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 May 2021; Ref: scu.194604

Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company v Broadbent: HL 4 Aug 1859

If a Plaintiff applies for an injunction in respect of a violation of a common law right, and the existence of that right, or the fact of its violation is denied, he must establish his right at law, but having done that, he is, except under special circumstances, entitled to an injunction to prevent a recurrence of that violation.
For such a purpose the award of an arbitrator is equivalent to a verdict.
If between the time of the case being referred and the award being made there has been an alteration in the mode of carrying on the business complained of, it may, if in diminution of the cause of injury, be shown as an answer to the application for an injunction; but if in increase of the cause of injury, it need not be the subject of a fresh proceeding at law; that is matter for the discretion of the Court of Equity. A Plaintiff brought an action to recover damages for an injury to his business occasioned by the erection. of gas works; the action was referred to arbitration; nearly two years elapsed before the award was made, in the course of which time alteratione in the mode of carrying on the business complained of were effected; two months after the date of the award the injunction was applied for: Held, that there had not been any such. acquiescence as to deprive the Plaintiff of his right to the injunction.
Lord Campbell LC
[1859] EngR 915, (1859) 7 HLC 600, (1859) 11 ER 239
Commonlii
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromBroadbent v The Imperial Gas Company 31-Jan-1857
. .

Cited by:
CitedArmstrong v Sheppard and Short Ltd CA 1959
The plaintiff had a path at the rear of his property. The defendant constructed a sewer under the path, and asked the plaintiff for permission. He gave it informally, not knowing at the time that he owned the land. The sewer was constructed. Though . .
CitedMiller v Jackson CA 6-Apr-1977
The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 May 2021; Ref: scu.288267

Pride of Derby and Derbyshire Angling Association Ltd v British Celanese Ltd: CA 1953

The plaintiff brought an action for nuisance against the local authority for having discharged insufficiently treated effluent into the river Derwent.
Held: The plaintiffs: ‘have a perfectly good cause of action for nuisance, if they can show that the defendants created or continued the cause of the trouble; and it must be remembered that a person may ‘continue’ a nuisance by adopting it, or in some circumstances by omitting to remedy it. . This liability for nuisance has been applied in the past to sewage and drainage cases in this way: when a local authority take over or construct a sewage and drainage system which is adequate at the time to dispose of the sewage and surface water for their district, but which subsequently becomes inadequate owing to increased building which they cannot control, and for which they have no responsibility, they are not guilty of the ensuing nuisance. They obviously do not create it, nor do they continue it merely by doing nothing to enlarge or improve the system. The only remedy of the injured party is to complain to the Minister [of Health, under the 1936 Act enforcement procedure].’
Lord Evershed, the Master of the Rolls, Denning LJ
[1953] Ch 149
Public Health Act 1936
England and Wales
Citing:
FollowedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedBaron v Portslade Urban District Council 1900
The local authority was held liable for omitting to clean a sewer. The existence of a procedure for the enforcement of statutory duties did not exclude common law remedies for common law torts, such as a nuisance arising from failure to keep a sewer . .

Cited by:
CitedMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited HL 4-Dec-2003
The claimant’s house was regularly flooded by waters including also foul sewage from the respondent’s neighbouring premises. He sought damages and an injunction. The defendants sought to restrict the claimant to his statutory rights.
Held: The . .
FollowedSmeaton v Ilford Corporation ChD 1954
Overloading caused the corporation’s foul sewer to erupt through a manhole and discharge ‘deleterious and malodorous matter’ into Mr Smeaton’s garden.
Held: The authority were not liable. e connections with the sewer and to discharge their . .
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
DistinguishedDear v Thames Water and Others 1992
. .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 May 2021; Ref: scu.188633

Broxbourne Borough Council, Regina (On the Application of) v North and East Hertfordshire Magistrates’ Court: Admn 3 Apr 2009

The council appealed against refusal of an abatement order in respect of a statutor nuisance by the defendant by artificial light. A veterinary surgeon had erected a light which stayed on all night but which was adjacent to a neighbour’s bedroom. A light of the sort recommended would have cost under a hundred pounds. Some andpound;13,000 had been expended in costs to date.
Munby J
[2009] EWHC 695 (Admin)
Bailii
Environmental Protection Act 1990 79(1)(fb)
England and Wales

Updated: 20 May 2021; Ref: scu.329570

Whatling v Rees: 1914

[1914] 84 LJKB 1122
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedKirklees Metropolitan Council v Field; Thackray; Marsh and Wilson Admn 31-Oct-1997
An abatement notice requiring works to be carried out must state clearly what works are required or considered necessary. There was an imminent danger of the collapse onto some cottages of a rockface and wall where the notice was addressed to the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 May 2021; Ref: scu.184806

SFI Group plc (formerly Surrey Free Inns plc) v Gosport Borough Council; Regina v Knightsbridge Crown Court ex p Cataldo: CA 29 Mar 1999

When considering the facts of a notice served under the Act, the court must look to the situation at the time when the notice is served, and not at the time when the case or appeal came to be heard. The previous Act used different wordings.
Times 05-Apr-1999, [1999] EWCA Civ 1126
Environmental Protection Act 1990 80
England and Wales
Citing:
Resumed fromSurrey Free Inns v Gosport Borough Council CA 12-Jun-1998
A noise abatement notice had been served, and appealed to the magistrates. By the time the matter came before the Crown Court, the bar had been soundproofed. The question then was which was the applicable time.
Held: In view of the contrasting . .

Cited by:
Adjourned toSurrey Free Inns v Gosport Borough Council CA 12-Jun-1998
A noise abatement notice had been served, and appealed to the magistrates. By the time the matter came before the Crown Court, the bar had been soundproofed. The question then was which was the applicable time.
Held: In view of the contrasting . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 May 2021; Ref: scu.146041

Regina v Bristol City Council ex parte Everett: CA 26 Feb 1999

A steep staircase in a house which might lead to an accident was not because of that fact a statutory nuisance. It was not directly prejudicial to health as required by the Act for liability.
Times 09-Mar-1999, Gazette 31-Mar-1999, Gazette 10-Mar-1999, [1999] EWCA Civ 869, [1999] 1 WLR 1170, (1999) 31 HLR 1102, [1999] Env LR 587
Bailii
Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part III
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromRegina v Bristol City Council ex parte Everett Admn 13-May-1998
The risk of an accident from a steep staircase to a disabled tenant was not a statutory nuisance. The possibility of an accident is not the same as a source of injury to health. Buxton LJ: ‘The limitation of the reach of this Statute to disease and . .
Appeal fromRegina v Bristol City Council ex parte Everett Admn 13-May-1998
The risk of an accident from a steep staircase to a disabled tenant was not a statutory nuisance. The possibility of an accident is not the same as a source of injury to health. Buxton LJ: ‘The limitation of the reach of this Statute to disease and . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina v Bristol City Council ex parte Everett Admn 13-May-1998
The risk of an accident from a steep staircase to a disabled tenant was not a statutory nuisance. The possibility of an accident is not the same as a source of injury to health. Buxton LJ: ‘The limitation of the reach of this Statute to disease and . .
Appealed toRegina v Bristol City Council ex parte Everett Admn 13-May-1998
The risk of an accident from a steep staircase to a disabled tenant was not a statutory nuisance. The possibility of an accident is not the same as a source of injury to health. Buxton LJ: ‘The limitation of the reach of this Statute to disease and . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 May 2021; Ref: scu.145784

Budd v Colchester Borough Council: CA 3 Mar 1999

A nuisance notice, requiring a householder to remove a nuisance caused by barking dogs, need not specify the manner in which the nuisance was to be abated, or the degree of reduction which would be acceptable. There was no necessary implication that any works were required. A local authority properly served a simple notice requiring abatement of a nuisance found of a dog barking. It had no general duty to specify the steps required to be undertaken to abate the nuisance save in circumstances where this was clearly required. ‘The local authority does have a choice of merely requiring a result in a particular case. Whether that will give rise to a ground of appeal other than the one with which we are currently concerned, namely that there is an informality, defect, or error in the notice, is an entirely separate matter. There may well be argument about alternative requirements or a whole variety of other matters. We are not concerned with that. . . . In a case such as the present, dealing with barking dogs, there is no necessity, either in setting out the nuisance to indicate the levels of barking which the dogs have exhibited so as to constitute a nuisance, or the precise times when they have been barking so as to constitute a nuisance, or in requiring the abatement of the nuisance, for the nuisance to specify precisely what has to be done about the nuisance.’
Schiemann L.J
Gazette 10-Mar-1999, Times 14-Apr-1999, Gazette 24-Mar-1999, [1999] EWCA Civ 885, (1997) Env LR 128
Environmental Protection Act 1990 80(1)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRegina v Wheatley 1885
If the magistrates think it necessary for things to be done to abate a nuisance they must specify them in their order. When failure to comply with an order will constitute a criminal offence this should cause no surprise. . .
CitedMcGillivray v Stephenson 1950
The court upheld a notice requiring a person to abate a nuisance constituting stinking pigs, which said ‘and for that purpose to remove the whole of the pigs from the premises, clear up the effect of their past presence, and cease for the future to . .
CitedMillard v Wastall 1898
The emission of black smoke from a factory chimney was a nuisance.
Held: When considering an order for the abatement of a nuisance, if the Justices considered it was necessary for things to be done to abate the nuisance, they had normally to . .
Appeal fromBudd v Colchester Borough Council QBD 1996
This was a dog-barking case in which the Court had to consider an abatement notice. It was argued that a notice which did not specify the level of barking which constituted the nuisance and which did not specify precisely what was to be done to . .

Cited by:
Appeal heardBudd v Colchester Borough Council CA 30-Jan-1997
The applicant sought leave to appeal against a decision confirming a noise abatement notice under the Act. He kept dogs, and neighbours had complained of the noise. He complained that the notice neither specified the nuisance complained of, nor . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 19 May 2021; Ref: scu.145800

Victoria Park Racing and Recreation Grounds Co Ltd v Taylor: 26 Aug 1937

(High Court of Australia)
Latham CJ, Rich, Dixon, Evatt and McTiernan JJ
[1937] 58 CLR 479, [1937] HCA 45
Austlii
Australia
Cited by:
CitedCadbury-Schweppes Pty Ltd And Others v Pub Squash Co Pty Ltd PC 13-Oct-1980
(New South Wales) The plaintiff had launched and advertised a soft drink. A year later, the defendant launched a similar product using similar names, styles and advertising, but then registered trade marks. The plaintiff sought damages, and for the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 May 2021; Ref: scu.181817

Radstock Co-operative and Industrial Society v Norton-Radstock Urban District Council: 1976

[1967] Ch 1094
England and Wales
Citing:
AppliedRex v Bell 1822
‘that which is not a nuisance at the time it is done, cannot become so by length of time’ . .

Cited by:
appliedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council QBD 5-Nov-1999
Owners of land downstream of a culvert had their lands flooded after works on land upstream changed the water flow, causing the culvert to be inadequate to cope with the water now running off.
Held: The culvert did not constitute a nuisance, . .
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 May 2021; Ref: scu.183034

Tennant Radiant Heat Ltd v Warrington Development Corporation: 1988

A property comprised a large building let on fully repairing leases of 22 units. The many rain outlets were allowed to become blocked, and water accumulated above one unit before that part of the roof collapsed. The landlord appealed a finding that since the roof was not comprised in any of the leases, there was an implied duty on it to repair the roof.
Held: There was no necessary implication of business efficacy to allow the implication of the term. The tenant was himself in breach for having failed to clear the outlet above his own property. The landlord was liable in nuisance for failing to clear the other rainwater outlets. The 1945 Act did not apply since the tenant’s failure was not tortious. Nevertheless, the tenant was liable as to 10%. ‘More importantly, however, for present purposes, the archaic and draconian rule of the common law which the 1945 Act was passed to override also has no application to the present case, since that rule had no relevance to a claim in, or in my judgment to a breach of, contract which was not also itself tortious. . . The problem which this court faces, on claim and counterclaim alike, is in my judgment a problem of causation of damage. On the claim, the question is how far the damage to its goods which the lessee has suffered was caused by the corporation’s negligence notwithstanding the lessee’s own breach of covenant. On the counterclaim, the question is how far the damage to the corporation’s building which the corporation has suffered was caused by the lessee’s breach of covenant, notwithstanding the corporation’s own negligence. The effect is that on each question, apportionment is permissible. This is the same result as the 1945 Act would produce, but it is not reached through the Act, because the obstacle which the 1945 Act was passed to override is not there on either claim or counterclaim in the present case.’ Croome-Johnson: ‘If the 1945 Act has no application, what is the position on the two claims? The evidence clearly indicates that the damage to the plaintiff’s premises was attributable to two concurrent causes, both operating contemporaneously. One was the defendant’s negligence and the other was the plaintiff’s breach of covenant . . . If the collapse had been caused by the combined negligence of the defendant and some third party, the plaintiff would have been entitled to recover all its damages from the defendant, leaving it to get contribution from its fellow tortfeasor . . . But that does not apply when the other cause comes from the plaintiff himself . . . A tenant who is in breach of his repairing covenant must pay for all the costs of repair or of the damage to the reversion. But the position is different if the covenantee is the selfsame landlord who has caused nine-tenths of the damage to the roof. . . . It is not possible, therefore, to allow both the claim and counterclaim in full and to set off the two awards of damages. Where one is dealing with two contemporaneous causes, each springing from the breach of a legal duty but operating in unequal proportions, the solution should be to assess the recoverable damages for both on the basis of causation.’
Dillon LJ, Croom-Johnson LJ, Caulfield J
[1988] 1 EGLR 41, [1988] 11 EG 71
Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945
England and Wales
Citing:
DistinguishedBarnes v City of London Real Property Co Ltd 1918
The landlord defendants had let various sets of rooms imposing on the tenants an obligation to pay a stated additional rent specifically for the cleaning of rooms by a house-keeper to be provided for the purpose. The agreements placed no express . .
DistinguishedEdmonton Corporation v Knowles (WM) and Son Ltd 1962
The court was able to imply from a provision in a lease obliging the tenant to pay to the landlords ‘the cost . . of painting in a workmanlike manner every third year of the term all outside wood and metal work and other external parts of the . .
FollowedSleafer v Lambeth Borough Council CA 1959
The plaintiff held a weekly residential tenancy of the defendant local authority. The front door was defective and jammed. The tenancy agreement contained a covenant by the tenant to keep the flat in good and tenantable repair. When the tenant . .
AppliedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
FollowedHargroves, Aronson and Co v Hartopp CA 1905
The tenants of a building of which the defendants were landlords sought damages after a rainwater gutter became stopped up and the defendants failed to clear it out for a few days after receiving notice of the stoppage.
Held: The landlords . .
DistinguishedGrant v Sun Shipping Co 1947
. .
DistinguishedForsikringsaktieselskapt Vesta v Butcher HL 1988
A contract of insurance and a facultative reinsurance, under which part of the original risk was reinsured, contained warranties in identical terms.
Held: The warranty in the reinsurance policy, which was governed by English law, should be . .

Cited by:
CitedW Lamb Limited (Trading As The Premier Pump and Tank Company) v J Jarvis and Sons Plc TCC 31-Jul-1998
Contractors built a petrol station, and sub-contractors the underground piping. Leaks developed, and it was agreed to complete repairs, and apportion financial repairs through the court proceedings. In a case where a judge found it difficult to . .
DoubtedBank of Nova Scotia v Hellenic Mutual War Risks Association (Bermuda) Ltd (The Good Luck) CA 1990
When a contract is to be construed purposively, the court must look to the purposes of both parties, not just one of them. No apportionment was to be applied under the 1945 Act: ‘Similarly, we think that the facts and circumstances of the present . .
CitedJackson v J H Watson Property Investment Ltd QBD 7-Jan-2008
The tenant claimant held under a 125 year lease of the defendant. A fault in a light well led to water ingress and damage. The fault was in the landlord’s land but not the flat. The tenant alleged a nuisance by the landlords. The landlord replied . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 May 2021; Ref: scu.182954

Parish v Judd: 1960

A lorry and a car it was towing stopped, obstructing the highway. The plaintiff crashed into them, and claimed that they constituted a nuisance. The vehicles had only just stopped, and the driver was checking that all was well with the car. The court was asked as to the alleged liability of the driver of the stationary car into which that carrying the plaintiff crashed, notwithstanding that the former vehicle was clearly visible 100 yards away.
Held: ‘the mere fact that an unlighted vehicle is found at night upon a road is not sufficient to constitute a nuisance’. Although the vehicle was so ‘found’, its driver might nevertheless be exculpated if, for example, it emerged that it was only momentarily stationary and that without fault on his part.
Edmund Davies J
[1960] 1 WLR 867
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedDymond v Pearce CA 13-Jan-1972
A motorcyclist crashed into the rear of a lorry stationary on the carriageway. The plaintff said that the parking of the lorry was a nuisance, and that if it had not been so parked, there would have been no accident.
Held: The appeal failed. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 May 2021; Ref: scu.265960

Gautret v Egerton: 1867

A man fell to his death when crossing a bridge used with the consent and permission of the defendants by persons proceeding to and coming from the defendants’ docks.
Held: The claim by his widow against the bridge owner was dismissed.
Willes J said: ‘What duty does the law impose upon these Defendants to keep their bridges in repair? If I dedicate a way to the public which is full of ruts and holes the public must take it as it is. If I dig a pit in it I may be liable for the consequences: but if I do nothing, I am not.’
Willes J
(1867) LR 2 CP 371
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBritish Railways Board v Herrington HL 16-Feb-1972
Land-owner’s Possible Duty to Trespassers
The plaintiff, a child had gone through a fence onto the railway line, and been badly injured. The Board knew of the broken fence, but argued that they owed no duty to a trespasser.
Held: Whilst a land-owner owes no general duty of care to a . .
CitedBarlow v Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council CA 1-Jun-2020
Presumption of dedication dates back.
The claimant tripped over a tree root raising a path in the park. The court was now asked whether the pathway through a public park, but which was not a public right of way, was maintainable at public expense as a highway governed by the 1980 Act. . .
CitedBarlow v Wigan Council QBD 19-Jun-2019
Responsibility for personal injury after trip over a tree root on a path in a park owned and maintained by the Council. The Court was now asked whether the public footpath was a highway under the 1980 Act for which the council was responsible for . .
CitedGulliksen v Pembrokeshire County Council CA 11-Jul-2002
The claimant had tripped on a footpath on a housing estate. There was a depressed manhole cover on the footpath over which he tripped. The footpath had been constructed by Pembrokeshire County Council, who were both the local housing authority and . .
CitedMcGeown v Northern Ireland Housing Executive HL 24-Jun-1994
The plaintiff lived with her husband in a house in a housing estate of which he was a tenant. Part of the land of the estate, in the ownership of the defendant housing authority, was crossed by footpaths, over which the public had acquired the right . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 12 May 2021; Ref: scu.181270

Oakley v Birmingham City Council: QBD 8 Jan 1999

The justices had concluded that the layout itself of premises was so unhygienic as to be ‘in a state prejudicial to health.’ The small toilets without a wash basin and next to the kitchen created a risk of cross-infection, and were a statutory nuisance.
Times 08-Jan-1999
Environmental Protection Act 1990 79
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromBirmingham City Council v Oakley HL 29-Nov-2000
When considering if premises fell within the section, and were ‘in such a state as to be prejudicial to health’, the court must consider some feature of the premises which was in itself prejudicial. An arrangement of rooms which was unsatisfactory . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 May 2021; Ref: scu.84406

Baxter v Mayor and Burgesses of London Borough of Camden (2): CA 5 Nov 1998

A tenant taking a lease of defective premises could not complain of nuisance arising from that defect in the absence of contractual or statutory obligations. Poor sound-proofing between flats no nuisance where there was no sound-proofing standard applicable
Times 11-Nov-1998, Gazette 25-Nov-1998, [1998] EWCA Civ 1703, [2001] QB1
England and Wales

Updated: 10 May 2021; Ref: scu.145182

Bradburn v Lindsay: 1983

The plaintiffs sued the owner of the adjoining house which had deteriorated so badly it had had to be demolished. The party wall was left standing but was largely unsupported.
Held: The defendant knew of the perilous state of her property (a semi-detached dwelling) and the judge applied the measured duty of care principle, to find her liable for damage resulting. The defendant should reasonably have appreciated the danger to the plaintiffs’ property from the dry rot and from the lack of repair of the defendant’s property and, because there were steps which the defendant could reasonably have taken to prevent the damage occurring, the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiffs to take such steps. The judge rejected the suggestion from the defendant that the claimants could have gone onto the property and taken appropriate steps to prevent the damage themselves.
Judge Blackett-Ord VC
[1983] 2 All ER 408
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 May 2021; Ref: scu.188047

Rex v The Commissioners of Sewers for the Levels of Pagham: 1828

The court considered responsibility for the inroads of the sea. The Commissioners erected groynes and other works to defend the stretch of coast for which they were responsible against the sea’s encroachment. But the consequence was that the sea flowed with greater force upon adjoining land, whose owner brought proceedings.
Held: ‘I am . . of opinion that the only safe rule to lay down is this, that each land-owner for himself, or the commissioners acting for several land-owners, may erect such defences for the land under their care as the necessity of the case requires, leaving it to others, in like manner, to protect themselves against the common enemy.’
Lord Tenterden CJ
(1828) 8 B and C 355
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedArscott and others v Coal Authority and Another CA 13-Jul-2004
The defendant had deposited coal wastes. When the river Taff flooded, the spoil heaps diverted the floods to damage the claimants’ homes. They appealed refusal of their claims in nuisance. The judge applied the common enemy rule: ‘an owner or . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 May 2021; Ref: scu.199368

Hudson v Cripps: 1896

[1896] 1 Ch 265
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedSouthwark London Borough Council v Mills/Tanner; Baxter v Camden London Borough Council HL 21-Oct-1999
Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 May 2021; Ref: scu.442753

London Borough of Southwark v Mills and Others: CA 29 Jul 1998

The authority appealed against an award made in arbitration proceedings brought by its tenant who complained that she could hear everything happening in a neighbouring flat, even though the tenants of that flat wer acting reaosnably.
Held: (Sir Peter Gibson dissenting) The appeal succeeded. A landlord’s duty to provide quiet enjoyment under his covenant for that purpose, does not extend so far as to require an improvement in the sound-proofing of a building well beyond standards which had applied at the time when the houses were built.
Sir Peter Gibson said that if the noise made by neighbouring tenants in the course of their ordinary use of their flats amounted to an interference with Mrs. Tanner’s reasonable use of her flat, she could be estopped from complaining only if she had expressly or impliedly consented to the noise.
Schiemann, Mantell, Peter Gibson LJJ
Times 20-Aug-1998, Gazette 09-Sep-1998, [1998] EWCA Civ 1319, [1999] 2 WLR 409
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromSouthwark London Borough Council v Mills and Others ChD 11-Mar-1998
A claim for a breach of the landlord’s covenant for quiet enjoyment, through the sound of normal activities from a neighbour being heard, succeeded. . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromSouthwark London Borough Council v Mills/Tanner; Baxter v Camden London Borough Council HL 21-Oct-1999
Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 May 2021; Ref: scu.144798