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.
A court may substitute damages for the grant of an injunction if an injunction would be oppressive. Referring to Wrotham Park, Sir Thomas Bingham MR said: ‘I cannot, however, accept that Brightman J’s assessment of damages in the Wrotham Park case was based on other than compensatory principles. The defendants had committed a breach of covenant, the effects of which continued. The judge was not willing to order the defendants to undo the continuing effects of that breach. He had therefore to assess the damages necessary to compensate the plaintiffs for this continuing invasion of their right. He paid attention to the profits earned by the defendants, as it seemed to me, not in order to strip the defendants of their unjust gains, but because of the obvious relationship between the profits earned by the defendants and the sum which the defendants could reasonably have been willing to pay to secure a release from the covenant. I am reassured to find that this is the view taken of the Wrotham Park case by Sir Robert Megarry V-C in Tito v Waddell (No.2)  Ch 106, 335.’
CS Millett LJ: ‘It has always been recognised that the practical consequence of withholding injunctive relief is to authorise the continuance of an unlawful state of affairs. If, for example, the defendant threatens to build in such a way that the plaintiff’s light will be obstructed and he is not restrained, then the plaintiff will inevitably be deprived of his legal right. This was the very basis upon which before 1858 the Court of Chancery had made the remedy of injunction available in such cases. After the passing of Lord Cairns’s Act many of the judges warned that the jurisdiction to award damages instead of an injunction should not be exercised as a matter of course so as to legalise the commission of a tort by any defendant who was willing and able to pay compensation.’ Damages awarded under section 50 may relate not only to extant breaches of obligation, but also to future breaches.
He also said: ‘Reported cases are merely illustrations of circumstances in which particular judges have exercised their discretion, in some cases by granting an injunction, and in others by awarding damages instead Since they are all cases on the exercise of a discretion, none of them is a binding authority on how the discretion should be exercised The most that any of them can demonstrate is that in similar circumstances it would not be wrong to exercise the discretion in the same way But it does not follow that it would be wrong to exercise it differently’
Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Millett LJ
Ind Summary 22-Aug-1994,  1 WLR 269,  EWCA Civ 1,  13 EG 132,  2 All ER 189,  1 EGLR 146,  EGCS 139
Supreme Court Act 1981 50, Chancery Amendment Act 1858 5
England and Wales
Approved – Wrotham 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 . .
Cited – Tito v Waddell (No 2); Tito v Attorney General ChD 1977
Equity applies its doctrines to the substance, not the form, of transactions. In respect of the rule against self dealing for trustees ‘But of course equity looks beneath the surface, and applies its doctrines to cases where, although in form a . .
Not the last word – Surrey County Council v Bredero Homes Ltd CA 7-Apr-1993
A local authority had sold surplus land to a developer and obtained a covenant that the developer would develop the land in accordance with an existing planning permission. The sole purpose of the local authority in imposing the covenant was to . .
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Cowper v Laidler ChD 1903
Buckley J said: ‘The court has affirmed over and over again that the jurisdiction to give damages where it exists is not so to be used as in fact to enable the defendant to purchase from the plaintiff against his will his legal right to the . .
Cited – Isenberg v East India House Estate Co Ltd 1863
The court refused a mandatory injunction to compel the defendant to pull down part of a new building which interfered with the plaintiff’s light and exercised instead the Court of Chancery’s recently-acquired jurisdiction under the 1858 Act to order . .
Not supported – Anchor Brewhouse Developments -v Berkley House (Docklands) Developments 1987
A crane which passes its boom over private land without permission creates an actionable nuisance. Damages could not be awarded so as to remove the plaintiff’s right to bring actions for trespass in the future if the trespass continued: ‘I find some . .
Appeal from – Jaggard v Sawyer CC 1993
(Weymouth County Court) The court refused an injunction to a land owner who complained that a neighbour had erected a building over a right of way. The court awarded damages of andpound;694.44, being a proportionate part of the the sum he might be . .
Cited – Severn Trent Water Ltd v Barnes CA 13-May-2004
The water company appealed an award of damages after it had been found to have laid a water main under the claimant’s land without his knowledge or consent. The court had awarded restitutionary damages.
Held: The judge fell into error in . .
Cited – Midtown 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 . .
Cited – Feakins 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 . .
Cited – Meretz Investments Nv and Another v ACP Ltd and others ChD 30-Jan-2006
The applicant challenged the exercise of a power of sale under a mortgage, saying that the mortgagee’s purposes included purposes not those under the mortgage. The parties had been involved in an attempted development of a penthouse.
Held: The . .
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and Another v World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc CA 2-Apr-2007
The parties had disputed use of the initals WWF, with a compromise reached in 1994 allowing primary use by the Fund with restricted use by the Federation. The Federation now appealed an award of damages made after a finding of a breach of the . .
Cited – Harris v Williams-Wynne ChD 11-Feb-2005
The parties agreed in sale agreement for a plot of land that the buyer would not erect any additional building. He did so, and when he came to try to sell it the original vendor objected. The purchaser’s solicitors registered the agreement for sale. . .
Cited – Winter and Another v Traditional and Contemporary Contracts Ltd CA 7-Nov-2007
The land-owners applied for a variation of a restrictive covenant to allow them to put a second house on their plot. They had bought out the right of the original builder, but a neighbour also had the benefit of the covenant. They now appealed the . .
Cited – Jacklin 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 . .
Cited – Ludlow 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 . .
Cited – Devenish Nutrition Ltd v Sanofi-Aventis Sa (France) and others CA 14-Oct-2008
The defendant had been involved in price fixing arrangements, and the claimant sought damages for breach of its proprietary rights. The claimant appealed refusal of an award an account of profits for what was akin to a breach of statutory duty.
Cited – 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 . .
Cited – Fisher 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 . .
Cited – Jones and Another v Ruth and Another CA 12-Jul-2011
The parties were neighbours. The claimants succeeded in their assertion of trespass and nuisance in building works carried out by the defendant. The claimant appealed against the judge’s failure to award damages for harassment, saying that though . .
Approved – 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 . .
Cited – HKRUK 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 . .
Cited – Morris-Garner and Another v One Step (Support) Ltd SC 18-Apr-2018
The Court was asked in what circumstances can damages for breach of contract be assessed by reference to the sum that the claimant could hypothetically have received in return for releasing the defendant from the obligation which he failed to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Litigation Practice, Damages, Land
Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.82468