Harper v GN Haden and Sons: CA 1932

The occupier of a ground floor and basement shop sought damages from the tenants of the upper floors. In order to construct an additional storey, they had erected scaffolding and a hoarding which obstructed the highway outside the plaintiff’s premises. This had been done with the necessary licence from the local authority.
Held: Works undertaken under such a licence (appropriate to the local authority) could not be complained of as a public nuisance or as illegal, unless and to the extent that the work exceeded the licence in extent or time.
Lord Hanworth MR said that the claimant must establish: ‘(a) a particular injury to himself beyond that which is suffered by the rest of the public; (b) that the injury is directly and immediately the consequence of the wrongful act; (c) that the injury is of a substantial character, not fleeting or evanescent.’
Lawrence LJ said: ‘A temporary obstruction of the highway may or may not constitute a public nuisance according to the circumstances. As a general rule such an obstruction is wrongful and constitutes a public nuisance, unless it is negligible in point of time or authorised by Parliament or occasioned in the reasonable and lawful user of the highway as a highway.’ The decision was to follow the statute to impose liability.


Romer LJ, Lord Hanworth MR, Lawrence LJ


[1933] Ch 298, [1932] All ER 59, 102 LJ Ch 6, 148 LT 303, 96 JP 525, 76 Sol 849, 31 LGR 18


Metropolis Management Act 1855 122


England and Wales


CitedLingke v Christchurch Corporation CA 1912
The householder sought compensation under the Act, for the disturbance in the laying of a drain in the highway abutting the claimant’s house and furniture shop. Because of the constraints of the work site, excavated soil had been thrown up against . .
CitedHerring v Metropolitan Board of Works CCP 1865
All the main sewers in the metropolis were vested in the Metropolitan Board of Works by the Act, gaving it wide powers to maintain and improve them, and for that purpose to carry out works in streets and other land, ‘making compensation for any . .

Cited by:

CitedWestminster City Council v Ocean Leisure Limited CA 21-Jul-2004
The claimant company owned property next to land which had been acquired to build a new bridge across the Thames. It sought compensation for disturbance to its business from the works.
Held: The state of the law was complicated and . .
CitedMoto Hospitality Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport CA 26-Jul-2007
The company sought damages to its business on a motorway service station when works closed an access road.
Held: The Secretary of State’s appeal succeeded. A claim for compensation under section 10 had not been established, at least in respect . .
CitedTrevetts v Lee CA 1955
Lord Evershed MR said: ‘The law as regards obstruction to highways is conveniently stated in a passage in Salmond on Torts, 13th edition: ‘A nuisance to a highway consists either in obstructing it or in rendering it dangerous’. Then a numbed of . .
CitedDwyer v Mansfield 1946
The plaintiff shopkeepers complained of obstructions caused by customers queuing outside the defendant’s vegetable shop. He was selling rationed vegetables in the quantities licensed. The judge had found that neither nuisance, nor damage had been . .
CitedAlmeroth v WE Chivers and Son Ltd CA 1948
The plaintiff peddler had his barrow by one kerb. He crossed the road to serve a customer, but on return when crossing the kerb from a roadway tripped over a small pile of slates and was injured. The slates did not overlap the kerb. They had been . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Damages

Updated: 03 April 2022; Ref: scu.201635