Hurdman 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 artificial work’. the rainwater would not have percolated ‘but for’ the rubble.
Cotton LJ said: ‘Every occupier of land is entitled to the reasonable enjoyment thereof. This is a natural right of property, and it is well established that an occupier of land may protect himself by action against any one who allows any filth or any other noxious thing produced by him on his own land to interfere with this enjoyment. We are further of opinion that . . if any one by artificial erection on his own land causes water, even though arising from natural rain-fall only, to pass into his neighbour’s land, and thus substantially to interfere with his enjoyment, he will be liable to an action at the suit of him who is so injured.’


Cotton LJ


(1878) 3 CPD 168

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 . .
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.


Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.199372