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