South Carolina Insurance Co v Assurantie Maatschappij de Zeven Provincien NV: HL 1987

There can be little basis for the grant of relief to a landowner providing protection from an action in nuisance if the landowner will not himself remedy the public nuisance. The House considered whether the circumstances gave the court power to grant an injunction at all, and stated certain basic principles governing the grant of an injunction. The first was that the power to grant an injunction was statutory (s. 37 of the 1981 Act). The third related to injunctions to restore proceedings in a foreign court, with which we are not concerned. The second was this: ‘The second basic principle is that, although the terms of section 37 (1) of the Act of 1981 and its predecessors are very wide, the power conferred by them has been circumscribed by judicial authority dating back many years. The nature of the limitations to which the power is subject has been considered in a number of recent cases in your Lordships’ House ‘
Lord Brandon of Oakbrook: ‘. . . The effect of these authorities, so far as material to the present case, can be summarised by saying that the power of the High Court to grant injunctions is, subject to two exceptions to which I shall refer shortly, limited to two situations. Situation (1) is when one party to an action can show that the other party has either invaded, or threatens to invade a legal or equitable right of the former for the enforcement of which the latter is amenable to the jurisdiction of the court. Situation (2) is where one party to an action has behaved, or threatens to behave, in a manner which is unconscionable.’ The House would not define unconscionable conduct save that it included conduct which is oppressive or vexatious or which interferes with the due process of the court.’
Lord Goff of Chieveley: ‘I am reluctant to accept the proposition that the power of the court to grant injunctions is restricted to certain exclusive categories. That power is unfettered by statute; and it is impossible for us now to foresee every circumstance in which it may be thought right to make the remedy available.’
References: [1987] AC 24, [1986] 3 WLR 398, [1986] 3 A11 ER 487, [1986] 2 Lloyds Rep 317
Judges: Lord Brandon of Oakbrook, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Mackay of Clashfern
Statutes: Supreme Court Act 1981 37
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case cites:

  • Cited – Siskina (owners of Cargo lately on Board) v Distos Compania Naviera SA HL 1979
    An injunction was sought against a Panamanian ship-owning company to restrain it from disposing of a fund, consisting of insurance proceeds, in England. The claimant for the injunction was suing the company in a Cyprus court for damages and believed . .
    ([1979] AC 210, [1979] 3 WLR 818, [1979] 3 All ER 803)
  • Cited – Castanho v Brown and Root (UK) Ltd HL 1981
    A claim was made for an anti-suit injunction.
    Held: The court is reluctant to make orders which would be ineffective to achieve what they set out to do, but the fear that the defendant will not obey an injunction is not a bar to its grant. The . .
    ([1981] AC 557)
  • Cited – British Airways Board v Laker Airways Limited HL 1985
    The plaintiffs tried to restrain the defendant from pursuing an action in the US courts claiming that the plaintiffs had acted together in an unlawful conspiracy to undermine the defendant’s business.
    Held: The action in the US were unlawful . .
    ([1985] AC 58, , [1984] UKHL 7, [1984] 3 WLR 413, [1984] 3 All ER 39)

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Oxfordshire County Council v Oxford City Council, Catherine Mary Robinson ChD 22-Jan-2004
    Land had been registered in part as a common. The council appealed.
    Held: The rights pre-existing the Act had not been lost. The presumption against retrospectively disapplying vested rights applied, and the application had properly been made. . .
    ([2004] EWHC 12 (Ch), , Times 30-Jan-04, [2004] 2 WLR 1291, [2004] Ch 253)
  • Cited – Royal Bank of Canada v Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank Ba CA 23-Jan-2004
    The claimant sought an order to restrain proceedings in New York. The parties were based in Canada and the Netherlands, with places of business in New York and London also. The swap agreement underlying the claim provide for it to be governed . .
    (, [2004] EWCA Civ 7)
  • Cited – Worcestershire County Council v Tongue, Tongue, and Tongue CA 17-Feb-2004
    The defendants had been convicted of animal welfare offences, and banned from keeping animals. The claimant sought to enter the premises to remove animals, but were denied entry.
    Held: The court had no power to make an order to allow access . .
    (, [2004] EWCA Civ 140, Gazette 18-Mar-04, [2004] 2 Ch 36)
  • Cited – Fourie v Le Roux and others HL 24-Jan-2007
    The appellant, liquidator of two South African companies, had made a successful without notice application for an asset freezing order. He believed that the defendants had stripped the companies of substantial assets. The order was set aside for . .
    (, [2007] UKHL 1, Times 25-Jan-07, [2007] 1 WLR 320, [2007] 1 All ER 1087, [2007] Bus LR 925)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.192161