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
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.


Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.190010