Northumbrian Water Ltd v Mcalpine Ltd: CA 20 May 2014

Appeal against an order dismissing the appellant’s claim against the respondent for loss and damage caused by an escape of concrete from a building site into one of its public sewers.

Moore-Bick, McFarlane, Christopher Clarke LJJ
[2014] EWCA Civ 685
Bailii
England and Wales

Negligence, Nuisance

Updated: 03 December 2021; Ref: scu.525638

Hall v Beckenham Corporation: 1949

A claim was made in nuisance against the local authority, the owner of a public park, in which members of the public flew noisy model aircraft.
Held: The local authority were not liable as the occupiers of the park for an alleged nuisance that was being committed in the park. Finnemore J discussed the purpose of a public walks or pleasure grounds under the 1875 Act, saying: ‘So far as a local authority are concerned, if land is bought under s. 164 of the Act of 1875 for that purpose it is dedicated to the use of the public for the purpose of a park.’

Finnemore J rejected the plaintiff’s submission that even if it was not the occupier, the authority was liable because it had the management and control of the park: ‘So long as a member of the public behaves himself in the ordinary way, committing no criminal offence and observing the by-laws, the corporation cannot stop his doing what he likes in this recreation ground . . I think that the corporation are the trustees and guardians of the park, and that they are bound to admit to it any citizen who wishes to enter it within the times when it is open. I do not think that they can interfere with any person in the park unless he breaks the general law or one of their by-laws. They cannot put themselves in the position of judges of whether a person may be causing a nuisance to someone outside the park. Their proper attitude to such a complaint is to say that the complainer must take action against the person who is said to be committing the nuisance.’

Finnemore J
[1949 ] 1 KB 716
Public Health Act 1875
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedRegina v City of Sunderland ex parte Beresford HL 13-Nov-2003
Land had been used as a park for many years. The council land owner refused to register it as a common, saying that by maintaining the park it had indicated that the use was by consent and licence, and that prescription did not apply.
Held: . .
CitedBarkas v North Yorkshire County Council CA 23-Oct-2012
The court was asked: ‘When local inhabitants indulge in lawful sports and pastimes on a recreation ground which has been provided for that purpose by a local authority in the exercise of its statutory powers, do they do so ‘by right’ or ‘as of . .
CitedBarkas, Regina (on The Application of ) v North Yorkshire County Council and Another SC 6-Mar-2014
The Court was asked as to the registration of a playing field as a ‘town or village green’. Local residents asserted that their use of the land, having been ‘as of right’ required the registration. They now appealed against rejection of that . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Land, Local Government

Updated: 17 November 2021; Ref: scu.187797

Griffiths v Liverpool Corporation: CA 1967

The Highways Act of 1961 had enlarged the duty of the highway authority and made it a general duty to take reasonable care to secure that the highway was not dangerous to traffic.
As to the effect of the 1961 Act, Diplock LJ said: ‘The duty at common law to maintain, which includes a duty to repair a highway, was not based in negligence but in nuisance. It was an absolute duty to maintain, not merely a duty to take reasonable care to maintain, and the statutory duty which replaced it was also absolute.’ and ‘The defendants had a statutory duty to maintain the highway and the question of reasonable care has no relevance.’
DiplocK LJ continued: ‘Subsection (2) does not, in my opinion, make proof of lack of reasonable care on the part of a highway authority a necessary element in the cause of action of a plaintiff who has been injured by a danger on a highway. What it does is to enable the highway authority to rely upon the fact that it has taken reasonable care as a defence — the onus of establishing this resting upon it. A convenient way of expressing the effect of the subsection is that it does not qualify the legal character of the duty imposed by subsection (1) but provides the highway authority with a statutory excuse for not performing it.
But however this may be there are two crucial differences between a liability in negligence and the statutory liability of a highway authority under this section. To succeed in an action for negligence the plaintiff must prove, inter alia, (1) that the defendant has been guilty of lack of reasonable care and (2) that such lack of reasonable care was the cause of the injury to him. In an action under the statute against a highway authority for injury sustained from a danger on a highway the plaintiff need prove neither of these things in order to succeed. Unless the highway authority proves that it did take reasonable care the statutory defence under subsection (2) is not available to it at all. Nor is it a defence for the highway authority to show that even had it taken all reasonable care this might not have prevented the damage which caused the injury. It may be that if the highway authority could show that no amount of reasonable care on its part could have prevented the danger the common law defence of inevitable accident would be available to it; but that is not relied on in the present case and it is not necessary for us to express a final conclusion upon it.’

Diplock LJ, Sellers LJ
[1967] 1 QB 374
Highways Act 1961 58(2)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRegina v Inhabitants of High Halden 1859
highhalden1859
The court considered the liability of the parish for injury arising from a failure to repair the road. The road was ‘an old soft road formed of Weald of Kent clay, and had never been repaired with hard substances’. The evidence was that in wet . .

Cited by:
CitedGoodes v East Sussex County Council HL 16-Jun-2000
The claimant was driving along a road. He skidded on ice, crashed and was severely injured. He claimed damages saying that the Highway authority had failed to ‘maintain’ the road.
Held: The statutory duty on a highway authority to keep a road . .
CitedJones v Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council CA 15-Jul-2008
The claimant, a fireman, sought damages for injuries suffered when he was injured answering a call out. He fell into a depressed area by the road side as he was pulling away a burning wooden pallet.
Held: The appeal was dismissed. The court . .
CitedRance v Essex County Council CA 21-Feb-1997
Appeal against refusal of claim against highway authority. The appellant was injured when her car crashed. A high volume of heavy goods vehicles had been using a local road, damaging the road and verges. Though the road was wide enough for her car . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Road Traffic

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.244696

Arscott 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 occupier of land is entitled to use or develop his land so as to prevent flood waters coming on to his land. If in times of flood waters which would have entered his land in consequence damage another’s land – that does not provide a cause of action in nuisance.’ The cases established ‘a bias in favour of natural user, subject to its being no more than reasonably enjoyed; a bias (effectively a conclusive rule) against non-natural user where that involves the escape of something noxious onto a neighbour’s land; a bias against the harbouring of a danger, a hazard, on one’s own land whether the hazard is natural or man-made. And in no case will there be liability without reasonable foreseeability of damage. ‘ and ‘You are entitled to protect yourself against the common enemy’s incursions; but if the incursion upon your land has already happened or is about to happen, you may not export it to your neighbour. ‘ The defendant was not liable at common law. The claim pre-dated Human Rights law, and the common enemy rule, subject perhaps to exceptional instances, is in principle inoffensive to Article 8 and Article 1 of the First Protocol.

Laws LJ
[2004] EWCA Civ 892, [2005] Env LR6
Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights P1 A1 A8
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedBamford v Turnley 2-Jul-1862
The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment . .
CitedTrafford v Rex CEC 1832
Landowners next to the Mersey had raised the banks to prevent floodwaters coming on to their land. This raised the water level threatening a canal. The landowners appealed a conviction.
Held: A guilty verdict of guilty would only be . .
CitedFarquharson v Farquharson 1741
‘It was found lawful for one to build a fence upon his own ground, by the side of a river, to prevent damage to his ground by the overflow of the river, though thereby a damage should happen to his neighbour by throwing the whole overflow in time of . .
CitedRex v The Commissioners of Sewers for the Levels of Pagham 1828
The court considered responsibility for the inroads of the sea. The Commissioners erected groynes and other works to defend the stretch of coast for which they were responsible against the sea’s encroachment. But the consequence was that the sea . .
CitedWhalley v Lancs and Yorks Railway Co 1884
After heavy rain, water accumulated against the defendants’ railway embankment, endangering it. The defendants cut trenches in it to allow the water flowed through, where it then went on to the land of the plaintiff, on the far side of the . .
CitedRex v Trafford KBD 1831
The river Mersey and an associated brook overflowed their banks in wet weather at the place in question, and the waters went north and west over adjoining lands, at length flowing back into the Mersey. The affected landowners raised banks (referred . .
CitedHurdman 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 . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .

Cited by:
CitedAnthony and others v The Coal Authority QBD 28-Jul-2005
The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd (Manchester Division) and Another QBD 17-Feb-2009
The claimant sought damages in nuisance and negligence saying that in constructing a new housing estate, they had altered the land in such a way as to lead to the repeated flooding of their home.
Held: Both the developer and the council were . .
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 . .
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.

Nuisance, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.199336

Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another: CA 3 Jul 2018

Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance

The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in value which had occurred.
Held: The decision of the recorder was upheld, but for different reasons: ‘the claimants should . . be able to argue and succeed before us on the ground of an unlawful interference with their enjoyment of the amenity of their properties due to the impairment of their right to use and enjoy those properties. They have not relied upon any evidence that was not before the Recorder, and the characteristics and damaging nature of Japanese knotweed have always been at the very heart of this litigation.’

Sir Terence Etherton MR, Sharp, Leggatt LJJ
[2018] EWCA Civ 1514
Bailii
Environmental Protection Act 1990
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedBaten’s Case 1610
. .
CitedFay v Prentice And Another 1845
A declaration in case stated that the defendant, being possessed of a messuage adjoining a garden of the plaintiff, erected a cornice upon his messuage, projecting over the garden, by means whereof rain-water flowed from the cornice into the garden, . .
CitedHarrop v Hirst 1868
The inhabitants of a named district, Tamewater, in the parish of Saddleworth, claimed a right to take water from a spout in the highway The claim was for diverting water.
Held: The right was upheld. An action for diverting water is . .
CitedLemmon v Webb HL 27-Nov-1894
A land-owner was free to lop off boughs from his neighbours trees to the extent that they reached over his land, and he could lop them without going on to the neighbour’s land. He was not required to give notice of his intention to do so. . .
CitedNicholas v Ely Beet Sugar Factory Ltd CA 1936
The plaintiff owned several fisheries and sought damages after the defendant polluted the riner. He was unable to prove any actual loss.
Held: Disturbance of a several fishery was an invasion of a legal right, and in such a case the injury to . .
CitedDavey v Harrow Corporation CA 1957
The Plaintiff’s house was damaged by roots penetrating from trees on adjoining land. At first instance, Sellers J found that the damage was caused by the trees, but they were not proven to be the property of the defendants. On appeal and after . .
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedRust v Victoria Graving Dock Co and London and St Katharine Dock Co 1887
Damages in nuisance are not to be increased by any subdivision of interests. . .
CitedWest Leigh Colliery Company Limited v Tunnicliffe and Hampson Limited HL 1908
The court considered the issue of surface subsidence as a nuisance owing to the working of minerals under or adjoining his property.
Held: depreciation in the market value of the property attributable to the risk of future subsidence cannot be . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedThompson-Schwab v Costaki CA 1956
The sight of prostitutes entering and leaving the defendant’s premises was so offensive as to be actionable in nuisance by a neighbouring owner. . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedLaws v Florinplace Ltd 1981
A large shop sign was erected advertising a ‘Sex Centre and Cinema Club’, the premises of which opened a few days later. Signs were put in the shop window, one of which advertised ‘Uncensored adult videos for sale or available’ and others of which . .
CitedBlue Circle Industries Plc v Ministry of Defence CA 16-Jun-1998
Contamination of land by the overflow of radioactive materials from a pond, led to damages for the cost of repair, and also the permanent diminution of the value in the land from physical damage.
Held: The Court dismissed the appeal of the . .
CitedBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd CA 19-Mar-2012
The claimants appealed against rejection of their claims for nuisance in the form of smells emanating from the respondent neighbour’s waste processing plant. The defendant relied upon the grant of planning permission.
Held: The cause of action . .
CitedFletcher v Bealey ChD 27-Jan-1885
The court was asked to grant an injunction quia timet. Pearson J said: ‘it is not correct to say, as a strict proposition of law, that, if the plaintiff has not sustained, or cannot prove that he has sustained, substantial damage, this Court will . .
CitedLeeds Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd v Slack HL 1924
The plaintiff complained of a threatened interference with ancient lights.
Held: Damages may be awarded in lieu of an injunction even where the injunction sought is a quia timet injunction, but that power imports a further power to give an . .
CitedGraigola Merthyr Co Ltd v Swansea Corporation (No 2) 1928
The plaintiffs owned two collieries, worked as one. The defendant owned an adjacent reservoir, constructed in pursuance of a special Act, incorporating sections from the Waterworks Clauses Act 1847. Wanting to take their seams under the reservoir, . .
CitedHooper v Rogers CA 1974
When considering a request for a quia timet injunction, Russell LJ said: ‘In different cases, differing phrases have been used in describing circumstances in which mandatory injunctions and quia timet injunctions will be granted. In truth, it seems . .
CitedLloyd v Symonds, Anderson and Lucas CA 20-Mar-1998
Appeal against injunction in nuisance to stop keeping breeding kennels. The neighbour had begun keeping the kennels, and the neighbour complained to the local Environmental Health office. Abatement notices were served, and the neighbour respondent . .
CitedJan De Nul (UK) Ltd v NV Royale Belge ComC 31-Jul-2000
Contractors’ liability insurance – contract for capital dredging of main shipping channel in Southampton Water – deposit of silt outside limits of dredged channel – whether insured negligent – whether silt interfered with navigation – whether . .
CitedJan De Nul (Uk) Limited v NV Royale Belge CA 10-Oct-2001
The contractor undertook to dredge a stretch of river. Due to its failure to investigate properly, the result was the release of substantial volumes of silt into the estuary, to the damage of other river users and frontagers. The act amounted to a . .
CitedBirmingham Development Company Ltd v Tyler CA 24-Jul-2008
Appeal against dismissal of claim for injunction to abate nuisance. . .
CitedLondon Borough of Islington v Elliott and Another CA 1-Feb-2012
The appellant challenged a costs order. It owned property on which grew certain trees. A neighbour complained of the incursion of roots, and began an action. The Council, having removed the trees said that it should not have been ordered to pay the . .
CitedDryden and Others v Johnson Matthey Plc SC 21-Mar-2018
Sensitisation to salt can be personal injury
The claimants, had developed platinum salt sensitisation due to the defendant employer’s breach of health and safety regulations and common law duty, claimed a cause of action for personal injury. Platinum salt sensitisation is, in itself, an . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Updated: 10 November 2021; Ref: scu.618935

Caminer v Northern and London Investment Trust Ltd: HL 1951

An elm tree, standing on land adjoining a busy London highway, fell, injuring the plaintiffs, who were using the thoroughfare. The House considered the duty of a land owner to inspect trees on his land adjoining the highway.
Held: Lord Normand observed that although the defendants had not complied with their duty, ‘it is no less plain that, if they had, it would have made no difference. The tree was just such a tree as [the expert witness] says the owner might consider safe.’
Where a person takes it upon himself to perform a task in circumstances where a reasonable man would think it necessary to call in an expert the standard of care and degree of foreseeability the law will require of him may well be that of an expert.
Lord Reid outlined the extent of the duty: ‘So in my judgment the appellants can only succeed in this appeal if they can show that there was something about this particular tree which should have suggested that lopping or other action was necessary. What inspection will suggest will depend on the knowledge and experience of the inspector, and there has been some controversy about the degree of knowledge and experience necessary for adequate inspection. Plainly it would be no use to send a person who knew nothing about trees. The alternatives put forward were that he should be an expert or that he should have at least such knowledge and experience of trees as a landowner with trees o his land would generally have. As the question depends on what a reasonable man would do I think that it may be put in this way. Would a reasonable and careful owner, without expert knowledge but accustomed to dealing with his trees and having a countryman’s general knowledge about them, think it necessary to call in an expert to advise him or would he think it sufficient to act at lest in the first instance on his own knowledge and judgment? The evidence in this case does not suggest to me that he would, and does not convince me that he should call in an expert. There must be many owners of elm trees beside busy roads and if it were proper for them to seek expert advice I would expect, making every allowance for the facts that not all owners are reasonable and careful and that even reasonable people frequently omit to do what they know they ought to do, that it would appear that expert advice was not infrequently sought. But the evidence in this case does not bear this out.’
Lord Radcliffe raised some questions as to the liability of a tree-owner which he did not finally answer. In the course of his discussion he said: ‘It would be conceded, I believe, that there is somehow a difference between the legal responsibilities of the owner of a mature forest tree, in a built-up area, immediately adjacent to a busy street, and the responsibilities of the owner of a stand of timber bordering a country lane. But is the difference only this, that the latter is entitled to take more chances at the expense of his neighbours than the former? I am not certain of the logic, for a tree or its branch only falls once; and it must be poor consolation to an injured passer-by in the country lane to be assured that the chances were all against his being at the place of the accident at the moment when it occurred.’
Lord Normand said: ‘The Court of Appeal applied what is, I think, the proper test – the conduct to be expected from a reasonable and prudent land-owner – and held on the evidence that the appellants had satisfied this test because there was nothing dangerous in the appearance of the tree, no sign of disease, advanced age, disproportion of crown to stem, or rising roots . . The test of the conduct to be expected from a reasonable and prudent landlord sounds more simple than it really is. For it postulates some degree of knowledge on the part of landlords which must necessarily fall short of the knowledge possessed by scientific arboriculturists but which must surely be greater than the knowledge possessed by the ordinary urban observer of trees or even of the countryman not practically concerned with their care.’

Lord Normand, Lord Porter, Lord Reid, Lord Oaksey, Lord Radcliffe
[1951] AC 88
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedStagecoach South Western Trains Ltd v Hind and Another TCC 11-Jun-2014
A train crash was caused when an ash tree fell from the defendant’s land across the railway line. The company sought damages from the land-owner.
Held: The land-owner’s duty extended no further than the carrying out of periodic informal or . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Negligence

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.526445

Cambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc: Cambridge Water Company v Hutchings and Harding Ltd: CA 19 Nov 1992

The defendants operated a plant using chlorinated solvent chemicals which, over a long period had seeped through the floor of their factory and into the chalk subsoil, eventually polluting the plaintiff’s water supply some mile and half away. The solvent contaminated the water in the borehole, which could not lawfully be supplied as drinking water as it did not comply with regulations issued pursuant to an EEC Directive. It appears that the regulations came into force after the relevant spillage on the defendant’s land but before the contamination of the water in the borehole. The water company appealed against a decision that the company was not liable.
Held: Appeal allowed. Following Ballard, the defendants must be strictly liable for the consequences of allowing the escape of the chemicals.

Times 29-Dec-1992, Independent 27-Jan-1993
England and Wales
Citing:
FollowedBallard v Tomlinson CA 1885
The parties were neighbouring land owners, and each had a deep well. The defendant emptied the sewage from his property into his well, and this polluted also the neighbour’s well. The pollution was actionable. His behaviour appropriated the water . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.188011

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
Citing:
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.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.190010

Miller v Jackson: CA 6 Apr 1977

The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of cricket balls landing in their gardens. The defendant appealed.
Held: A factor to be taken into account was that the plaintiffs had purchased their properties knowing of the club. That could constitute the exceptional circumstances allowing the court to use its discretion not to award an injunction.
Lord Denning MR, dissenting, said: ‘In summertime village cricket is the delight of everyone. Nearly every village has its own cricket field where the young men play and the old men watch. In the village of Lintz in County Durham they have their own ground, where they have played these last 70 years. They tend it well. The wicket area is well rolled and mown. The outfield is kept short . . [y]et now after these 70 years a judge of the High Court has ordered that they must not play there anymore . . [h]e has done it at the instance of a newcomer who is no lover of cricket.
This newcomer has built . . a house on the edge of the cricket ground which four years ago was a field where cattle grazed. The animals did not mind the cricket.’ If the injunction were upheld, cricket would cease in the village and ‘the young men will turn to other things . .’ The public interest in the playing of cricket should prevail over the individual interests of the householders, and, instead of the injunction, he awarded andpound;400 for past and future inconvenience. He went on to answer with a resounding no his own rhetorical (in both senses of the word) question whether this was ‘all to be rendered useless to them by the thoughtless and selfish act of an estate developer in building right up to the edge of it?’
Geoffrey Lane LJ (with whom Cumming-Bruce LJ agreed) concluded that the claim in nuisance was made out. He accepted, albeit with some regret, that it was not for the Court of Appeal ‘to alter a rule which has stood for so long’, namely ‘that it is no answer to a claim in nuisance for the defendant to show that the plaintiff brought the trouble on his own head by building or coming to live in a house so close to the defendant’s premises that he would inevitably be affected by the defendant’s activities, where no one had been affected previously’

Geoffrey Lane, Cumming Bruce LJJ, Denning MR
[1977] 1 QB 966, [1977] 3 All ER 338, [1977] EWCA Civ 6
Bailii
Chancery Amendment Act 1858 (Lord Cairns’ Act)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedImperial Gas Light and Coke Company v Broadbent HL 4-Aug-1859
If a Plaintiff applies for an injunction in respect of a violation of a common law right, and the existence of that right, or the fact of its violation is denied, he must establish his right at law, but having done that, he is, except under special . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher CEC 1865
Mr Fletcher’s Lancashire coal mine was flooded by the water from Mr Rylands’ mill reservoir in 1860-61.
Held: Mr Rylands was responsible. Blackburn J said: ‘We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings . .
CitedSturges v Bridgman CA 1879
The character of the neighbourhood in which the plaintiff lives should, for the law of nuisance, include established features: ‘whether anything is a nuisance or not is a question to be determined, not merely by an abstract consideration of the . .
CitedShelfer 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 . .
CitedBrowne v Flower 1911
With regard to the landlord’s covenant for quiet enjoyment, Parker J said: ‘to constitute a breach of such a covenant there must be some physical interference with the enjoyment of the demised premises, and that a mere interference with the comfort . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedBolton v Stone HL 10-May-1951
The plaintiff was injured by a prodigious and unprecedented hit of a cricket ball over a distance of 100 yards. He claimed damages in negligence.
Held: When looking at the duty of care the court should ask whether the risk was not so remote . .
CitedLatimer v AEC Limited HL 25-Jun-1953
The Appellant had recovered damages for injuries which he alleged had been the result of a failure on the part of the Respondents in their statutory duty to maintain one of the gangways in their works in an efficient state. He slipped on a factory . .
CitedOverseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Morts Dock and Engineering Co Ltd (The Wagon Mound No 1) PC 18-Jan-1961
Foreseeability Standard to Establish Negligence
Complaint was made that oil had been discharged into Sydney Harbour causing damage. The court differentiated damage by fire from other types of physical damage to property for the purposes of liability in tort, saying ‘We have come back to the plain . .
CitedLetang v Cooper CA 15-Jun-1964
The plaintiff, injured in an accident, pleaded trespass to the person, which was not a breach of duty within the proviso to the section, in order to achieve the advantages of a six-year limitation period.
Held: Trespass is strictly speaking . .
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .

Cited by:
CitedWorld Wide Fund for Nature (Formerly World Wildlife Fund), World Wildlife Fund Incorporated v World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Incorporated – Intervener Jakks Pacific Llc CA 27-Mar-2003
. .
DoubtedKennaway v Thompson CA 30-Apr-1980
The plaintiff’s property adjoined the defendant’s boating lake over which the defendant had, over several years, come to run more and more motor boat sports events. The trial judge had found that the noise created by the racing was an actionable . .
CitedSmithkline Beecham Plc Glaxosmithkline UK Ltd and Another v Apotex Europe Ltd and others (No 2) CA 23-May-2006
The parties to the action had given cross undertakings to support the grant of an interim injunction. A third party subsequently applied to be joined, and now sought to take advantage of the cross undertakings to claim the losses incurred through . .
CitedVarious Claimants v The Catholic Child Welfare Society and Others CA 26-Oct-2010
Child sexual abuse was alleged by 150 claimants against staff members of a community home with teachers supplied by the defendants. The court had asked whether they had vicarious liability for the acts of their staff, and now whether the board of . .
CitedCoventry 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 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Nuisance, Negligence

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.180311

Goldman v Hargrave: PC 13 Jun 1966

(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would burn itself out. The fire spread to neighbouring property.
Held: An occupier of land is under a general duty of care in relation to hazards, whether natural or man-made, occurring on his land to remove or reduce such hazards to his neighbour. The existence of the duty is based on the knowledge of the hazard, the ability to foresee the consequences of not checking or removing it and the ability to abate it by taking reasonable measures. Risks such as the spread of fire are not ones which, without more, call for the imposition of any risk based liability; liability if any must be based upon some antecedent creation of risk or some subsequent fault.
Lord Wilberforce said: ‘the tort of nuisance, uncertain in its boundary, may comprise a wide variety of situations, in some of which negligence plays no part, in others of which it is decisive’. And ‘one may say in general terms that the existence of a duty must be based upon a hazard, ability to foresee the consequences of not checking or not removing it, and the ability to abate it.’
The occupier here was in breach of his duty of care for failing to extinguish a fire which had started by natural causes. The defendant was found to be negligent because he chose not to put the fire out, but to let it burn itself out instead. This erroneous decision allowed a wind to revive the fire which then spread to the plaintiff’s property.
In the case of fire there was no difference between a fire that started from natural causes and one that had been started by human agency. Lord Wilberforce said: ‘Their Lordships would first observe, with regard to the suggested distinction, that it is well designed to introduce confusion into the law. As regards many hazardous conditions arising on land, it is impossible to determine how they arose – particularly is this the case as regards fires. If they are caused by human agency, the agent, unless detected in flagrante delicto, is hardly likely to confess his fault. And is the occupier, when faced with the initial stages of a fire, to ask himself whether the fire is accidental or man-made before he can decide upon his duty? Is the neighbour whose property is damaged bound to prove the human origin of the fire? The proposition involves that if he cannot do so, however irresponsibly the occupier has acted, he must fail. But the distinction is not only inconvenient, it lacks, in their Lordships’ view, any logical foundation.
Within the class of situations in which the occupier is himself without responsibility for the origin of the fire, one may ask in vain what relevant difference there is between a fire caused by a human agency, such as a trespasser, and one caused by act of God or nature. A difference in degree – as to the potency of the agency – one can see but none that is in principle relevant to the occupier’s duty to act. It was suggested as a logical basis for the distinction that in the case of a hazard originating in an act of man, an occupier who fails to deal with it can be said to be using his land in a manner detrimental to his neighbour and so to be within the classical field of responsibility in nuisance, whereas this cannot be said when the hazard originates without human action so long at least as the occupier merely abstains. The fallacy of this argument is that, as already explained, the basis of the occupier’s liability lies not in the use of his land: in the absence of ‘adoption’ there is no such use; but in the neglect of action in the face of something which may damage his neighbour. To this, the suggested distinction is irrelevant.’

Wilberforce, Perason, Morris of Borth-y-Gest, Reid LL
[1967] 1 AC 645, [1966] 3 WLR 513, [1966] 2 All ER 989, [1966] UKPC 2, [1966] UKPC 12
Bailii, Bailii
Australia
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .

Cited by:
CitedThames Water Utilities Limited v Marcic CA 7-Feb-2002
The claimant owned land over which sewage and other water had spilled from the appellant’s sewage works. His claim having been dismissed under Rylands v Fletcher, and there being no statutory means of obtaining compensation, the judge was asked to . .
CitedBritish Railways Board v Herrington HL 16-Feb-1972
Land-owner’s Possible Duty to Trespassers
The plaintiff, a child had gone through a fence onto the railway line, and been badly injured. The Board knew of the broken fence, but argued that they owed no duty to a trespasser.
Held: Whilst a land-owner owes no general duty of care to a . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited HL 4-Dec-2003
The claimant’s house was regularly flooded by waters including also foul sewage from the respondent’s neighbouring premises. He sought damages and an injunction. The defendants sought to restrict the claimant to his statutory rights.
Held: The . .
CitedSmith v Littlewoods Organisation Limited (Chief Constable, Fife Constabulary, third party); Maloco v Littlewoods Organisation Ltd HL 1987
The defendant acquired a semi derelict cinema with a view to later development of the site. A fire started by others spread to the pursuer’s adjoining property.
Held: The defendants were not liable in negligence. The intervention of a third . .
CitedOverseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Miller Steamship Co Pty (The Wagon Mound) (No 2) PC 25-May-1966
(New South Wales) When considering the need to take steps to avoid injury, the court looked to the nature of defendant’s activity. There was no social value or cost saving in this defendant’s activity. ‘In the present case there was no justification . .
CitedGabriel v Kirklees Metropolitan Council CA 24-Mar-2004
The claimant (aged 6) sought damages after being hurt when other children playing on a building site threw stones from the site, hitting him as he passed by.
Held: The case raised questions of law and it was incumbent on the judge to provide . .
CitedGorringe v Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council HL 1-Apr-2004
Statutory Duty Not Extended by Common Law
The claimant sought damages after a road accident. The driver came over the crest of a hill and hit a bus. The road was not marked with any warning as to the need to slow down.
Held: The claim failed. The duty could not be extended to include . .
CitedStockley v Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council CA 1986
A council owned a two-storey building divided into four flats, one of which was occupied by the plaintiff. It failed to prevent frozen water pipes in the roof of the building (which was outside the demise to the plaintiff) from bursting and flooding . .
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedLambert and Others v Barratt Homes Ltd (Manchester Division) and Another QBD 17-Feb-2009
The claimant sought damages in nuisance and negligence saying that in constructing a new housing estate, they had altered the land in such a way as to lead to the repeated flooding of their home.
Held: Both the developer and the council were . .
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 . .
CitedPage Motors v Epsom Borough Council CA 9-Jul-1981
The plaintiffs were lessees of land neighbouring that of the Council. Over several years the council’s land had been occupied by gypsies who, it was said had damaged the plaintiff’s business. Though the Council had obtained a possession order in . .
DeterminativeStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedStagecoach South Western Trains Ltd v Hind and Another TCC 11-Jun-2014
A train crash was caused when an ash tree fell from the defendant’s land across the railway line. The company sought damages from the land-owner.
Held: The land-owner’s duty extended no further than the carrying out of periodic informal or . .
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
CitedMiller v Jackson CA 6-Apr-1977
The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance, Negligence

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.179685

Rylands v Fletcher: CEC 1865

Mr Fletcher’s Lancashire coal mine was flooded by the water from Mr Rylands’ mill reservoir in 1860-61.
Held: Mr Rylands was responsible. Blackburn J said: ‘We think that the true rule of law is, that the person who for his own purposes brings on his lands and collects and keeps there anything likely to do mischief if it escapes, must keep it in at his peril, and, if he does not do so, is prima facie answerable for all the damage which is the natural consequence of its escape. He can excuse himself by shewing that the escape was owing to the plaintiff’s default; or perhaps that the escape was the consequence of vis major, or the act of God; but as nothing of this sort exists here, it is unnecessary to inquire what excuse would be sufficient. The general rule, as above stated, seems on principle just. The person whose grass or corn is eaten down by the escaping cattle of his neighbour, or whose mine is flooded by the water from his neighbour’s reservoir, or whose cellar is invaded by the filth of his neighbour’s privy, or whose habitation is made unhealthy by the fumes and noisome vapours of his neighbour’s alkali works, is damnified without any fault of his own; and it seems but reasonable and just that the neighbour, who has brought something on his own property which was not naturally there, harmless to others so long as it is confined to his own property, but which he knows to be mischievous if it gets on his neighbour’s, should be obliged to make good the damage which ensues if he does not succeed in confining it to his own property. But for his act in bringing it there no mischief could have accrued, and it seems but just that he should at his peril keep it there so that no mischief may accrue, or answer for the natural and anticipated consequences. And upon authority, this we think is established to be the law whether the things so brought be beasts, or water, or filth, or stenches.’

Blackburn J
(1866) LR 1 Ex 265, [1865] 3 HandC 774, [1865] EngR 436, (1865) 3 H and C 774, (1865) 159 ER 737
Commonlii
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedMason v Levy Auto Parts of England 1967
The defendants had a store of machinery in inflammable packings, together with a quantity of petroleum, acetylene and paints. A neighbour claimed from fire damage.
Held: They were liable for the damage when fire broke out and escaped to the . .
AppliedCockburn v Smith 1924
The owner of a block of flats let one to the tenant, but kept the roof and guttering in his own possession and control. The guttering became defective and the landlord failed to remedy it after notice. Rainwater escaped and caused damage to the . .
CitedAttorney-General v Corke ChD 1933
The defendant whose land had been occupied by caravan dwellers for profit was liable in public nuisance and under the rule in Rylands v Fletcher and was restrained by injunction. Offending acts had been committed by the caravan dwellers, who were . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedWoodland v Essex County Council SC 23-Oct-2013
The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .
CitedMiller v Jackson CA 6-Apr-1977
The activities of a long established cricket club had been found to be a legal nuisance, because of the number of cricket balls landing in the gardens of neighbouring houses. An injunction had been granted to local householders who complained of . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.188009

Watson and Others v Croft Promo-Sport Ltd: QBD 16 Apr 2008

The claimants were neighbours to a car racing circuit. They complained of noise nuisance.
Held: Simon J said: ‘The Claimants’ objections are not to the car and motor-bicycle racing fixtures which amount to about 20 (N1 and N2) events each year (over approximately 45-50 days); but to the noise from the circuit’s other activities, in particular Vehicle Testing Days and Track Days (when members of the public drive vehicles at speed all day) at noise levels which reach N2-N4 levels.’
(1) a planning authority (including a minister and an inspector) have no jurisdiction to authorise a nuisance, though they may have the power to permit a change in the character of a neighbourhood and (2) the question whether a permissive planning permission has changed the character of a neighbourhood so as to defeat what would otherwise constitute a claim in nuisance is one of fact and degree.

Simon J
[2008] EWHC 759 (QB), [2008] Env LR 43, (2008) 152(18) SJLB 29, [2008] 3 All ER 1171, [2008] 2 EGLR 149
Bailii
England and Wales

Nuisance, Planning

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.375092

Leakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty: CA 31 Jul 1979

Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is natural or man-made (the ‘hazard’ being an unstable mound of earth which was present on the land not as a result of any human action or activity on the land). The nature and extent of the duty is a duty to do that which is reasonable in all the circumstances. The decision and the dicta in Rylands v Fletcher had given rise to continual trouble in the law of England.
Megaw LJ said: ‘The defendant’s duty is to do that which it is reasonable for him to do. The criteria of reasonableness include, in respect of a duty of this nature, the factor of what the particular man – not the average man – can be expected to do, having regard, amongst other things, where a serious expenditure of money is required to eliminate or reduce the danger, to his means. Just as, where physical effort is required to avert an immediate danger, the defendant’s age and physical condition may be relevant in deciding what is reasonable, so also logic and good sense require that, where the expenditure of money is required, the defendant’s capacity to find the money is relevant. But this can only be in the way of a broad, and not a detailed, assessment; and, in arriving at a judgment on reasonableness, a similar broad assessment may be relevant in some cases as to the neighbour’s capacity to protect himself from damage, whether by way of some form of barrier on his own land or by way of providing funds for expenditure on agreed works on the land of the defendant.’ and
‘If, as a result of the working of the forces of nature, there is poised above my land or above my house a boulder or a rotten tree which is liable to fall at any moment of the day or night perhaps destroying my house, and perhaps killing or injuring me or members of my family, am I without a remedy? . . Must I, in such a case, if my protests to my neighbour go unheeded, sit and wait and hope that the worst will not befall? If it is said that I have in such circumstances a remedy of going on my neighbour’s land to abate the nuisance, that would, or might, be an unsatisfactory remedy. But in any event, if there were such a right of abatement, it would, as counsel for the Plaintiffs rightly contended, be because my neighbour owed me a duty. There is, I think, ample authority that, if I have a right of abatement, I have also a remedy in damages if the nuisance remains unabated and causes me damage or personal injury.’
and ‘The duty is to do that which is reasonable in all the circumstances, and no more than what, if anything, is reasonable to prevent or minimise the known risk of damage or injury to one’s neighbour or to his property. The considerations with which the law is familiar are all to be taken into account in deciding whether there has been a breach of duty, and, if so, what that breach is, and whether it is causative of the damage in respect of which the claim is made. Thus there will fall to be considered the extent of the risk; what so far as can reasonably be foreseen are the chances that anything untoward will happen or that any damage will be caused? What is to be foreseen as to the possible extent of the damage if the risk becomes a reality. Is it practicable to prevent, or to minimise, the happening of any damage? If it is practicable, how simple or how difficult are the measures which could be taken, how much and how lengthy work do they involve, and what is the probable cost of such works? Was there sufficient time for preventive action to have been taken, by persons acting reasonably in relation to the known risk, between the time when it became known to, or should have been realised by the defendant, and the time when the damage occurred. Factors such as these, so far as they apply in a particular case, fall to be weighed in deciding whether the defendant’s duty of care requires, or required, him to do anything, and, if so, what?’

Megaw LJ, Shaw LJ, Cumming-Bruce LJ
[1980] QB 485, [1980] 1 All ER 17, [1979] EWCA Civ 5
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedGoldman v Hargrave PC 13-Jun-1966
(Australia) In Western Australia, a red gum tree was struck by lightning and set on fire. The appellant had the tree cut down, but took no reasonable steps by spraying the fire with water to prevent the fire from spreading, believing that it would . .
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedJob Edwards Ltd v Birmingham Navigations Proprietors CA 1924
Land next to the canal was used for the deposit of refuse by trespassers. The mound spread until, for a fee, it was dumped also across the canal. It caught fire, and the fire spread toward the canal. By agreement the parties got together to put out . .
CitedDonoghue (or M’Alister) v Stevenson HL 26-May-1932
Decomposed Snail in Ginger Beer Bottle – Liability
The appellant drank from a bottle of ginger beer manufactured by the defendant. She suffered injury when she found a half decomposed snail in the liquid. The glass was opaque and the snail could not be seen. The drink had been bought for her by a . .
CitedDavey v Harrow Corporation CA 1957
The Plaintiff’s house was damaged by roots penetrating from trees on adjoining land. At first instance, Sellers J found that the damage was caused by the trees, but they were not proven to be the property of the defendants. On appeal and after . .
CitedSedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan HL 24-Jun-1940
Occupier Responsible for Nuisance in adopting it
A trespasser laid a drain along a ditch on the defendant’s land. Later the defendants came to use the drain themselves. A grate was misplaced by them so that in a heavy rainstorm, it became clogged with leaves, and water flowed over into the . .
CitedSmith v Kenrick CCP 1849
Where there are two minings working adjacent land, each has the right to work his own mine, and to construct shafts in his own mine in whatever way he thinks fit, and even if this results naturally in damage to the neighbour’s mine, provided he is . .
CitedBarker v Herbert CA 1911
The Defendant owned a house near the highway. A rail in a nearby fence of the area railing had been broken away by some boys, and there was therefore a gap in the railings. A child climbed through fell into an open area, injuring himself. The . .
CitedNoble v Harrison CA 1926
A tree shed a limb onto a passer-by, causing personal injury. The Court of Appeal reversed the original finding in favour of the claimant because the defect could not have been discovered by inspection. A land-owner may become liable for a naturally . .
CitedWilkins v Leighton 1932
Luxmoore J said that ‘one of the most normal uses of land’ (for the purposes of the Rylands v. Fletcher doctrine) ‘ . . is to put buildings on it.’ . .
CitedRead v J Lyons and Co Ltd HL 1946
The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had . .
CitedThomas and Evans Ltd v Mid-Rhondda Co-operative Society CA 1941
The defendants set out to re-construct a wall along the side of the river to protect their land and an adjacent highway from flooding. In doing so they pulled down the wall, leaving gaps which they intended to fill by a new building. The river . .
CitedRouse v Gravelworks Ltd CA 1940
The defendants had dug out gravel from their land, leaving a large hole adjacent to the boundary with the plaintiff’s land. Water filled the hole and caused damage to the plaintff’s land.
Held: The plaintiff’s claim failed because the damage . .

Cited by:
CitedThames Water Utilities Limited v Marcic CA 7-Feb-2002
The claimant owned land over which sewage and other water had spilled from the appellant’s sewage works. His claim having been dismissed under Rylands v Fletcher, and there being no statutory means of obtaining compensation, the judge was asked to . .
CitedGreen v The Right Honourable Lord Somerleyton and others CA 28-Feb-2003
The parties owned areas of marshland divided by a road. The claimant sought a declaration that the defendants had no right to allow floodwater to escape over his land from what he said was an artificial reservoir on the defendant’s land. The . .
CitedDelaware Mansions Limited and others v Lord Mayor and Citizens of the City of Westminster HL 25-Oct-2001
The landowner claimed damages for works necessary to remediate damage to his land after encroachment of tree roots onto his property.
Held: The issue had not been properly settled in English law. The problem was to be resolved by applying a . .
CitedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited HL 4-Dec-2003
The claimant’s house was regularly flooded by waters including also foul sewage from the respondent’s neighbouring premises. He sought damages and an injunction. The defendants sought to restrict the claimant to his statutory rights.
Held: The . .
CitedTennant Radiant Heat Ltd v Warrington Development Corporation 1988
A property comprised a large building let on fully repairing leases of 22 units. The many rain outlets were allowed to become blocked, and water accumulated above one unit before that part of the roof collapsed. The landlord appealed a finding that . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
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 . .
AppliedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedAnthony and others v The Coal Authority QBD 28-Jul-2005
The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
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 . .
CitedPage Motors v Epsom Borough Council CA 9-Jul-1981
The plaintiffs were lessees of land neighbouring that of the Council. Over several years the council’s land had been occupied by gypsies who, it was said had damaged the plaintiff’s business. Though the Council had obtained a possession order in . .
CitedWillis and Another v Derwentside District Council ChD 10-Apr-2013
The claimants sought damages alleging the escape of noxious CO2 gas from the defendant’s neighbouring land. The gas originated from old coal workings.
Held: There had come to be a liability falling in the defendant from 2006. Its delay in . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
CitedRobbins v London Borough of Bexley CA 17-Oct-2013
The claimant said that his house had been damaged by tree roots for which the appellant was responsible. The trees were 33 metres from the house.
Held: The appeal failed. The immediate cause of the damage was a failure to do something which . .
CitedStagecoach South Western Trains Ltd v Hind and Another TCC 11-Jun-2014
A train crash was caused when an ash tree fell from the defendant’s land across the railway line. The company sought damages from the land-owner.
Held: The land-owner’s duty extended no further than the carrying out of periodic informal or . .
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
CitedHurst and Another v Hampshire County Council CA 19-Jun-1997
A Local Authority is liable for any damage to adjacent property caused by the roots of a tree growing on the verge of a public highway.
Held: Pre-adoption trees vest in the highway authority for all purposes. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.179683

Read v J Lyons and Co Ltd: HL 1946

The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had been no escape from the land which was a pre-requisite to liability under Rylands -v- Fletcher. No claim in nuisance or under the rule can arise if the events complained of take place wholly on the land of a single occupier. There must be an escape from one tenement to another. ‘escape . . means escape from a place where the defendant has occupation of or control over land to a place which is outside his occupation or control.’ and ‘For if a man commits a legal nuisance it is no answer to his injured neighbour that he took the utmost care not to commit it. There the liability is strict, and there he alone has a lawful claim who has suffered an invasion of some proprietary or other interest in land.’

Lord Simonds, Viscount Simon, Lord MacMillan, Lord Porter, Lord Uthwatt
[1947] AC 156, [1946] 2 All ER 471, [1947] LJR 39, [1946] 175 LT 413, [1946] 62 TLR 646, [1946] 91 Sol J Jo 54, [1946] UKHL 2
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRylands v Fletcher HL 1868
The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
Held: The defendant . .
CitedMay v Burdett 1846
The court considered the liability of the owner for a bite by his pet monkey. . .
CitedBesozzi v Harris 1858
The court considered the owner’s liability for injury caused by a bear on a chain on the defendant’s premises. . .
CitedGreen v Chelsea Waterworks Co 1894
A water main belonging to a waterworks company, which had been authorized by Parliament to lay the main, burst. There had been no negligence on the part of the waterworks company. The claimants’ premises were flooded but the waterworks company was . .
CitedEllis v Loftus Iron Co 1874
The pasturing of cattle must be one of the most ordinary uses of land, and strict liability for damage done by cattle enclosed on one man’s land if they escape thence into the land of another, is one of the most ancient propositions of our law. It . .

Cited by:
DoubtedDavis and Another v Balfour Kilpatrick Ltd and others CA 23-May-2002
The claimants sought damages for sickness they claimed arose from exposure to radiation when erecting radio transmitter masts. The risk had been recognised, and a safety assessment undertaken and adjustments made to the transmitter power before work . .
AppliedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
AppliedTransco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL 19-Nov-2003
Rylands does not apply to Statutory Works
The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedLMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
Held: To . .
CitedDymond v Pearce CA 13-Jan-1972
A motorcyclist crashed into the rear of a lorry stationary on the carriageway. The plaintff said that the parking of the lorry was a nuisance, and that if it had not been so parked, there would have been no accident.
Held: The appeal failed. . .
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
CitedStannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.183101

Calvert v Gardiner and Others: QBD 10 May 2002

The claimant sought damages for nuisance in the form of the loud ringing of church bells. The claim was against the local church and also against the bishop.
Held: The ring of bells might in law amount to a nuisance, but the action against the Bishop was not going to succeed and was struck out. The management of the church bell ringing was specifically within the remit of the local church. The vicar had a degree of security of tenure, and the bishop had no disciplinary rights or other form of control which might make him potentially liable.

Mr Justice Burton
Times 22-Jul-2002

Ecclesiastical, Nuisance

Leading Case

Updated: 31 October 2021; Ref: scu.174420

Oakley v Birmingham City Council: QBD 8 Jan 1999

The justices had concluded that the layout itself of premises was so unhygienic as to be ‘in a state prejudicial to health.’ The small toilets without a wash basin and next to the kitchen created a risk of cross-infection, and were a statutory nuisance.
Times 08-Jan-1999
Environmental Protection Act 1990 79
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromBirmingham City Council v Oakley HL 29-Nov-2000
When considering if premises fell within the section, and were ‘in such a state as to be prejudicial to health’, the court must consider some feature of the premises which was in itself prejudicial. An arrangement of rooms which was unsatisfactory . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 11 May 2021; Ref: scu.84406

Wheeler and Another v JJ Saunders Ltd and Others: CA 19 Dec 1994

The existence of a planning permission did not excuse the causing of a nuisance by the erection of a pighouse. The permission was not a statutory authority, and particularly so where it was possible it had been procured by the supply of inaccurate and incomplete information.
The court considered the function of a gate: ‘The function of a gate is different from that of a fence. A gate is intended to prevent ingress and egress only when it is shut. It is of the essence of a gate that it can be opened whereas a fence cannot be opened and . . the covenant to fence does not refer to a gate.’ (Peter Gibson LJ)
Staughton LJ considered the significance of planing permissions as to nuisance: ‘One can readily appreciate that planning permission will, quite frequently, have unpleasant consequences for some people. The man with a view over open fields from his window may well be displeased if a housing estate is authorised by the planners and built in front of his house; the character of the neighbourhood is changed. But there may be nothing which would qualify as a nuisance and no infringement of his civil rights. What if the development does inevitably create what would otherwise be a nuisance? Instead of a housing estate the planners may authorise a factory which would emit noise and smoke to the detriment of neighbouring residents. Does that come within the first proposition of Cumming-Bruce LJ, that a planning authority has no jurisdiction to authorise a nuisance? Or is it within the second, that the authority may change the character of a neighbourhood?’ and
‘It would in my opinion be a misuse of language to describe what has happened in the present case as a change in the character of a neighbourhood. It is a change of use of a very small piece of land, a little over 350 square metres according to the dimensions on the plan, for the benefit of the applicant and to the detriment of the objectors in the quiet enjoyment of their house. It is not a strategic planning decision affected by considerations of public interest. Unless one is prepared to accept that any planning decision authorises any nuisance which must inevitably come from it, the argument that the nuisance was authorised by planning permission in this case must fail. I am not prepared to accept that premise. It may be – I express no concluded opinion – that some planning decisions will authorise some nuisances. But that is as far as I am prepared to go.’
Staughton LJ, Peter Gibson LJ
Times 03-Jan-1995, [1996] Ch 19, [1994] EWCA Civ 8, [1994] EWCA Civ 32, [1995] 3 WLR 466, [1995] 2 All ER 697
Bailii, Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedWestminster City Council v Great Portland Estates plc HL 31-Oct-1984
The House was asked whether the 1971 Act permitted the relevant authorities, by resort to their development plans, to support the retention of traditional industries or was the ambit of the Act such as to permit only ‘land use’ aims to be pursued? . .
CitedGillingham Borough Council v Medway (Chatham) Dock Co Ltd CA 1992
Neighbours complained at the development of a new commercial port on the site of a disused naval dockyard. Heavy vehicle traffic at night had a seriously deleterious effect on the comfort of local residents.
Held: Although a planning consent . .
CitedAllen v Gulf Oil Refining Ltd CA 1980
The exercise of the permission to develop granted by the local planning authority may have the result that the character of the neighbourhood changes and that which would previously have been a nuisance must be held no longer to be so
Cited by:
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedAdam v Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury CA 28-Jul-2005
The neighbour parties disputed the existence of a right of way over one plot. . .
CitedWatson 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 . .
CitedLawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others QBD 4-Mar-2011
The claimants had complained that motor-cycle and other racing activities on neighbouring lands were a noise nuisance, but the court also considered that agents of the defendants had sought to intimidate the claimants into not pursuing their action. . .
CitedCoventry 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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 10 April 2021; Ref: scu.90439

Cambridge City Council v Douglas: QBD 22 Mar 2001

The council issued an abatement notice on a public house with respect to noise from music inside. The notice included reference to a provision that an appeal would not suspend the notice, and that the authority could carry out works in default and recover the cost. The occupier appealed saying it was ambiguous. The divisional court held that the notice did not require works but the exercise of control, and the reference to works did not prevent it being capable of suspension. The notice was unambiguous.
Gazette 22-Mar-2001
England and Wales

Updated: 08 April 2021; Ref: scu.78839

Barr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd (No 3): TCC 19 Apr 2011

The claimants sought damages in nuisance saying that the defendant’s waster recycling plant was causing odorous pollution of their nearby homes.
Coulson J
[2011] EWHC 1003 (TCC)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd TCC 15-May-2009
The Claimants were the residents of a housing estate who applied for a Group Litigation Order to pursue their claim of nuisance and negligence against a waste contractor. The Defendant requested the disclosure of their ‘after the event’ insurance . .
See AlsoBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd (No.2) TCC 2-Oct-2009
. .
See AlsoBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd [No 4] TCC 19-Apr-2011
. .

Cited by:
See AlsoBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd [No 4] TCC 19-Apr-2011
. .
See AlsoBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd [No 4] TCC 19-Apr-2011
. .
See AlsoBarr and Others v Biffa Waste Services Ltd CA 19-Mar-2012
The claimants appealed against rejection of their claims for nuisance in the form of smells emanating from the respondent neighbour’s waste processing plant. The defendant relied upon the grant of planning permission.
Held: The cause of action . .
ApprovedCoventry 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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 March 2021; Ref: scu.432869

Birmingham Development Company Ltd v Tyler: CA 24 Jul 2008

Appeal against dismissal of claim for injunction to abate nuisance.
[2008] EWCA Civ 859, [2008] BLR 445
Bailii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 February 2021; Ref: scu.271033

Hiscox Syndicates Ltd and Another v Pinnacle Ltd and others: QBD 13 Jun 2008

Akenhead J
[2008] EWHC 1386 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoHiscox Syndicates Ltd and Another v The Pinnacle Ltd and others ChD 25-Jan-2008
The claimants sought an injunction in nuisance, saying that the defendants had agreed to use all reasonable endeavours to avoid causing a nuisance to them in demolition works on their neighbouring land.
Held: The injunction should be granted. . .

Cited by:
See AlsoHiscox Syndicates Ltd and Another v The Pinnacle Ltd and others TCC 13-Jun-2008
The claimants sought to restrain as a nuisance the erection of the tallest building in Europe on neighbouring land. . .
See AlsoHiscox Syndicates Ltd and Another v The Pinnacle Ltd and Others TCC 10-Dec-2009
. .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 February 2021; Ref: scu.270434

Hiscox Syndicates Ltd and Another v The Pinnacle Ltd and others: TCC 13 Jun 2008

The claimants sought to restrain as a nuisance the erection of the tallest building in Europe on neighbouring land.
Akenhead J
[2008] EWHC 1386 (TCC)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoHiscox Syndicates Ltd and Another v The Pinnacle Ltd and others ChD 25-Jan-2008
The claimants sought an injunction in nuisance, saying that the defendants had agreed to use all reasonable endeavours to avoid causing a nuisance to them in demolition works on their neighbouring land.
Held: The injunction should be granted. . .
See AlsoHiscox Syndicates Ltd and Another v Pinnacle Ltd and others QBD 13-Jun-2008
. .

Cited by:
See AlsoHiscox Syndicates Ltd and Another v The Pinnacle Ltd and Others TCC 10-Dec-2009
. .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 February 2021; Ref: scu.270345

Eiles v London Borough of Southwark: TCC 28 Jul 2006

Quantification of claim for damages for damage from tree roots. Costs order.
Ramset J
[2006] EWHC 2014 (TCC)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Main judgmentEiles v London Borough of Southwark TCC 22-Jun-2006
Claim for damages – subsidence caused by tree roots. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 31 January 2021; Ref: scu.245898

Jan De Nul (Uk) Limited v NV Royale Belge: CA 10 Oct 2001

The contractor undertook to dredge a stretch of river. Due to its failure to investigate properly, the result was the release of substantial volumes of silt into the estuary, to the damage of other river users and frontagers. The act amounted to a nuisance and a public nuisance. Could damages be recovered where the claimants had been unable to quantify their losses? However difficult that question, it was reasonable for the contractor to have taken steps to mitigate the potential loss.
Held: The deposit of silt was a form of physical interference with the third parties’ land. The claimant was liable in nuisance because HWT had a right to be left to use its nature reserve for breeding purposes without having to worry whether the silt, which the claimant by its negligence had put there, would interfere with their breeding programme; that worry could only be avoided either by carrying out a study, as was in fact done, and finding out that there was no need to do anything, or by dredging out the silt; the property was physically significantly affected in as much as large amounts of salt were deposited on it; and HWT suffered further damage by reason of the claimant’s activities in as much as HWT paid for the investigation.
Schiemann LJ said: ‘The underlying policy of the law is to protect a claimant against what Markesinis and Deakin in their book on Tort Law (4th ed, 1999) describe at p.422 as ‘unreasonable interference with the claimant’s interest.’ Phrases such as ‘physical damage to land’ are portmanteau phrases which embrace the concept of land being affected and this resulting in damage to the economic interests of another’.
Schiemann LJ, Hale LJ, Rix LJ
[2002] EWCA Civ 209, [2002] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 583, [2002] Lloyd’s Rep IR 589, [2002] 1 All ER (Comm) 767
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedTate and Lyle Industries Ltd v Greater London Council HL 24-Mar-1983
The plaintiff had constructed and used two jetties, and dredged a channel down to the Thames for their use. The Council constructed two terminals nearby, the result of which was to cause a build up of silt blocking the channel.
Held: The . .
CitedHunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
CitedCambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
CitedOverseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Miller Steamship Co Pty (The Wagon Mound) (No 2) PC 25-May-1966
(New South Wales) When considering the need to take steps to avoid injury, the court looked to the nature of defendant’s activity. There was no social value or cost saving in this defendant’s activity. ‘In the present case there was no justification . .
CitedRegina v Shamrock CACD 1994
. .
CitedAttorney-General v PYA Quarries Ltd CA 1957
In a relator action, an injunction was sought to prevent the respondent from emitting quantities of dust from their quarry. The court had to decide what were the constituents of the offence of a public nuisance, and how this differed from a private . .
CitedBenjamin v Storr 1874
The plaintiff’s coffee house was badly affected by the defendant’s wagons standing for long periods in the narrow street outside for the purposes of loading and unloading goods. The wagons blocked his light and the frequent stabling of the horses . .
Appeal fromJan De Nul (UK) Ltd v NV Royale Belge ComC 31-Jul-2000
Contractors’ liability insurance – contract for capital dredging of main shipping channel in Southampton Water – deposit of silt outside limits of dredged channel – whether insured negligent – whether silt interfered with navigation – whether . .

Cited by:
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 . .
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 07 January 2021; Ref: scu.166543

Haringey London Borough Council v Jowett: QBD 27 Apr 1999

Traffic noise from outside a building could not found an allegation of statutory nuisance. A landlord could liable for a nuisance he allowed to continue even though the same condition applied when he acquired his interest.
Times 20-May-1999, [1999] EWHC Admin 365, [1999] 32 HLR 308
Bailii
Environmental Protection Act 1990 79(1)(a)
Cited by:
CitedVella v London Borough of Lambeth Admn 14-Nov-2005
The claimant sought judicial review of the decision to serve an abatement notice in respect of premises where the normal noise incidents of living were heard in neighbouring flats, which notices were to be abated by noise insulation.
Held: The . .
Times 23-Nov-05, [2005] EWHC 2473 (Admin)

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 18 December 2020; Ref: scu.81241

Cunningham v Birmingham City Council: Admn 6 May 1997

The council appealed against the finding that the complainant’s premises occupied under a tenancy of the council, constituted a statutory nuisance which they had a duty to abate. The claimant’s son was disabled and his condition involved behavioural problems. She said that the kitchen was, in view of his condition too small and dangerous in its layout.
Held: Whether premises are ‘prejudicial to health’ is an objective not a subjective test; there is no contrast with the test for nuisance. The magistrate had been wrong to determine the case in the way he did by relating the respondents’ duties to the particular health requirements of Robert, the son of the the appellant.
Pill LJ, Astill J
Times 09-Jun-1997, [1997] EWHC Admin 440
Bailii
Environmental Protection Act 1990 79(1)(a)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedSalford City Council v McNally HL 1976
The House considered the interaction of the 1936 and 1957 Acts as to the distinction between the questions of injury to health and fitness for human habitation: ‘It was not a defence to establish that the house, the subject of the complaint, was . .
[1976] AC 379
CitedLondon Borough of Southwark v Ince QBD 1989
Savile J: ‘I am not persuaded that because there is now the Control of Pollution Act and there was previously the Noise Abatement Act that therefore lends any support to the construction [that the Public Health Act 1936 did not apply to premises . .
(1989) 21 HLR 505
CitedNational Coal Board v Thorne 2-Jan-1976
Complaint was made as to the failure to repair a property, and the duty to abate the resulting nuisance. Watkins J said: ‘Speaking for myself I would adopt the words of Lord Wilberforce so as to state that a nuisance cannot arise if what has taken . .
[1976] 1 WLR 543
CitedHall v The Manchester Corporation 1915
Lord Parker set out the test which to be applied when considering whether a property was fit for human habitation: ‘I desire to add that if the corporation are minded to make a new order under section 41 dealing with the houses in question, they . .
[1915] Law Journal Chancery 732
CitedMorgan v Liverpool Corporation CA 1927
The tenant claimed that he had been injured when as the upper portion of a window was being opened one of the cords of the window sash broke and the top part of the window slipped down and caught and injured his hand. The plaintiff admitted that the . .
[1927] 2 KB 131

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 December 2020; Ref: scu.79709

Camden London Borough Council v London Underground Ltd: QBD 7 Jan 2000

The local authority served a noise nuisance abatement notice upon the respondents regarding their plant room. The notice required abatement and a non-repetition. The notice was not specific as to the works required to be undertaken. It was held that the notice was indeed insufficiently specific. Although it was possible to add to the notice specification requirements contained in an accompanying letter, it was advisable to lock the two together explicitly. The notice required works but did not specify what they were and was invalid.
Gazette 07-Jan-2000
Statutory Nuisance (Appeals) Regulations 1995, Environmental Protection Act 1990 80

Updated: 17 December 2020; Ref: scu.78852

Bybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council: QBD 5 Nov 1999

Owners of land downstream of a culvert had their lands flooded after works on land upstream changed the water flow, causing the culvert to be inadequate to cope with the water now running off.
Held: The culvert did not constitute a nuisance, since following earlier cases, and an extension of the law of nuisance to that of negligence, the owner of a riparian property took the risk of flooding as a natural consequence of owning such land. Although the culvert taking the dyke under Cemetery Lane when originally constructed caused some interference with the flows when it was constructed, ‘that evidence. . . does not in my judgment demonstrate that the culvert then gave rise to a nuisance. In my judgment the evidence as to flooding, both positive and negative, shows that when constructed the culvert was of adequate capacity to carry the natural flow of water within the dyke; and that the flooding in 1993 and 1996 and the continuing risk of flooding of the site agreed by the experts . . . are the result of changes within the catchment area.’
Robert Owen QC
Gazette 17-Nov-1999
Citing:
appliedRadstock Co-operative and Industrial Society v Norton-Radstock Urban District Council 1976
. .
[1967] Ch 1094

Cited by:
Appeal fromBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
Times 08-Jan-01, Gazette 05-Apr-01, [2000] EWCA Civ 300, [2000] EWCA Civ 299, [2001] BLR 55

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 17 December 2020; Ref: scu.78790

Dwyer 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 established.
Held: The appeal failed. The defendant was carrying out an essential public service in an appropriate normal and proper manner. Even if nuisance had been established, a complaint would not lie unless he could be shown to have behaved in some excessive or unreasonable manner. The queues were caused by the shortage of potatoes.
[1946] KB 437, [1946] 2 All ER 247, [1947] LJR 894, 175 LT 61, 62 TLR 401, 90 Sol Jo 443
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedHarper 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 . .
[1933] Ch 298, [1932] All ER 59, 102 LJ Ch 6, 148 LT 303, 96 JP 525, 76 Sol 849, 31 LGR 18

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 December 2020; Ref: scu.621479

Laws v Florinplace Ltd: 1981

A large shop sign was erected advertising a ‘Sex Centre and Cinema Club’, the premises of which opened a few days later. Signs were put in the shop window, one of which advertised ‘Uncensored adult videos for sale or available’ and others of which gave a warning that the premises showed explicit sex acts. The adjoining property owner sought an interlocutory injunction.
Held: The court granted the interlocutory injunction to restrain until trial, the business of the shop, the shop signs and other forms of advertisement. There was a triable issue whether the existence of a business of the kind in question, conducted in the way in which it was conducted, so that the nature of the business was evident to the nearby residents and their visitors, was a nuisance. It was sufficiently arguable that the knowledge by occupants of the plaintiffs’ properties of the use of the defendant’s premises was a material interference with the comfortable enjoyment of the plaintiffs’ properties.
[1981] 1 All ER 659
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedThompson-Schwab v Costaki CA 1956
The sight of prostitutes entering and leaving the defendant’s premises was so offensive as to be actionable in nuisance by a neighbouring owner. . .
[1956] 1 All ER 652, [1956] 1 WLR 335

Cited by:
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
[2018] EWCA Civ 1514

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 December 2020; Ref: scu.619260

Baten’s Case: 1610

(1610) 9 Co Rep 53b
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
[2018] EWCA Civ 1514

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 December 2020; Ref: scu.619258

West Leigh Colliery Company Limited v Tunnicliffe and Hampson Limited: HL 1908

The court considered the issue of surface subsidence as a nuisance owing to the working of minerals under or adjoining his property.
Held: depreciation in the market value of the property attributable to the risk of future subsidence cannot be taken into account. To recover damages the surface owner is obliged to wait until the damage or injury caused by subsidence has happened.
[1908] AC 27
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedNetwork Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
[2018] EWCA Civ 1514

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 December 2020; Ref: scu.619259

Fleming v Hislop: HL 1886

Lord Halsbury LC said that ‘whether the man went to the nuisance or the nuisance came to the man, the rights are the same’
Lord Halsbury LC
(1886) LR 11 App Cas 686
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedCoventry 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 . .
[2014] UKSC 13, [2014] 2 P andCR 2, [2014] 2 All ER 622, [2014] BLR 271, [2014] HLR 21, [2014] Env LR 25, [2014] 1 AC 822, 152 Con LR 1, [2014] 2 WLR 433, [2014] PTSR 384, UKSC 2012/0076

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 December 2020; Ref: scu.536797

Leeds v Shakerley: 1599

In an action for diverting a water-course from one of three mills, on not guilty, the ven. Fac. shall be where the nuisance was done, sed aliter on a prescription; but a seisin of the mill at the time of the nuisance must be shewn.
[1653] EngR 1212, (1599) Cro Eliz 751, (1653) 78 ER 983 (A)
Commonlii
Cited by:
CitedCoventry 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 . .
[2014] UKSC 13, [2014] 2 P andCR 2, [2014] 2 All ER 622, [2014] BLR 271, [2014] HLR 21, [2014] Env LR 25, [2014] 1 AC 822, 152 Con LR 1, [2014] 2 WLR 433, [2014] PTSR 384, UKSC 2012/0076

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 December 2020; Ref: scu.413519

Regina v Lister and Biggs: 1856

The defendants were indicted with knowingly depositing in their warehouse, which was close to public streets, excessive quantities of a dangerous ignitable and explosive fluid called wood naptha. The assertion was that, as a result, the neighbouring and passing public was in great danger of their lives and property and kept in great alarm and terror: if there were to be a fire in the warehouse, it could not be quenched and would produce disastrous consequences in the neighbourhood. The defendants were convicted.
Held: The indictment was upheld.
It was argued on behalf of the defendants that naptha was not self-inflammatory, that it was maintained with care, that it was not therefore dangerous and that the alarm of the public was not of itself sufficient to prove an indictable offence in nuisance. The fears of mankind, though they might be reasonable ones, would not create a nuisance, and he refused an injunction. The point being made was that the naptha in the warehouse did not represent an actual danger to the public. The argument was rejected.
Lord Campbell CJ said: ‘The law of this country would surely be very defective if life and property could be so exposed to danger by the act of another with impunity. There is no ground for saying that, according to the doctrine contended for by the prosecutor’s counsel, neither brandy nor wine, nor oil, nor any ignitable substance, could be kept in the cellar of a town house without the owner of the house being liable to imprisonment. The substance must be of such a nature and kept in such large quantities, and under such local circumstances, as to create real danger to life and property. The well founded apprehension of danger which would alarm men of steady nerves and reasonable courage, passing through the street in which the house stands, or residing in adjoining houses, is enough to show that something has been done which the law ought to prevent by pronouncing it to be a misdemeanour. Accordingly, to manufacture, or to keep in large quantities, in towns or closely inhabited places, gunpowder (which for this purpose cannot be distinguished from naptha) is by the common law of England a nuisance and an indictable offence. . . it is a question of fact for the jury whether the keeping and depositing, or the manufacturing of such substances, really does create danger to life and property as alleged – and this must be a question of degree, depending on the circumstances of each particular case. No general rule of law can be laid down beyond this, that the substantial allegations in the indictment must be substantially proved. In the present case we think that sufficient, although not necessarily conclusive, evidence was adduced, and that although the Judge would not have been justified in directing a verdict of guilty to be entered without taking the opinion of the jury upon it, he was fully justified in telling the jury (which he appears to have done) that if the depositing and keeping the naptha in the manner described, coupled with its liability to ignition ab extra, created danger to life and property to the degree alleged, they might find a verdict of guilty. Whether the liability to ignition ab extra could properly be taken into consideration by the jury, he reserved for our opinion, and we answer – Yes. The conviction must therefore be affirmed.’
Lord Campbell CJ
[1856] EngR 30, (1856-1857) Dears and B 209, (1856) 169 ER 979
Commonlii
England and Wales

Updated: 16 December 2020; Ref: scu.290785

Barker v Herbert: CA 1911

The Defendant owned a house near the highway. A rail in a nearby fence of the area railing had been broken away by some boys, and there was therefore a gap in the railings. A child climbed through fell into an open area, injuring himself. The Defendant did not live in the house, and knew nothing of the the removal of the rail which had happened only three days before the accident. The case in nuisance was dismissed on the facts by the jury.
Held: The appeal failed. Vaughan Williams LJ analysed the case of Saxby and said that the effect of each judgment would say that to impose liability upon the possessor of land in such a case, there must be either the creation of a nuisance by him or a continuance by him of a nuisance.
Fletcher Moulton LJ said that: ‘In a case where the nuisance is created by the act of a trespasser, it is done without the permission of the owner and against his will, and he cannot in any sense be said to have caused the nuisance; but the law recognizes that there may be a continuance by him of the nuisance. In that case the gravamen is the continuance of the nuisance, and not the original causing of it. An owner of premises may have a duty to prevent the continuance of the nuisance, but it is obvious that, just as where the allegation is that he has caused the nuisance it must be proved that it was there by his act or that of some one for whose action he is responsible, so, where it is alleged that he is responsible for the continuance of the nuisance it must be proved that it was continued by his permission. He cannot be said to have permitted the continuance of that of which he had no knowledge.’
The knowledge of servants and agents for whom the owner is responsible must be attributed to him, and that cases might arise in which his or their want of knowledge may be due to neglect of duty.
Vaughan Williams LJ, Fletcher Moulton LJ and Farwell LJ
(1911) 2 KBD 633
Citing:
CitedSaxby v Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Co 1869
The plaintiff claimed that the defendants had diverted a water course causing them damage. . .
[1869] LR 4 CP 198

Cited by:
CitedLeakey v The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty CA 31-Jul-1979
Natural causes were responsible for soil collapsing onto neighbouring houses in Bridgwater.
Held: An occupier of land owes a general duty of care to a neighbouring occupier in relation to a hazard occurring on his land, whether such hazard is . .
[1980] QB 485, [1980] 1 All ER 17, [1979] EWCA Civ 5

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 16 December 2020; Ref: scu.276815

Lloyds Bank plc v Guardian Assurance plc: CA 1986

The statutory control over building works provided under s.60 is capable of operating quite separately from the private law tort of nuisance.
Sir John Arnold P and Nourse LJ
[1986] 35 BLR 34
Control of Pollution Act 1974 60
Cited by:
CitedHiscox Syndicates Ltd and Another v The Pinnacle Ltd and others ChD 25-Jan-2008
The claimants sought an injunction in nuisance, saying that the defendants had agreed to use all reasonable endeavours to avoid causing a nuisance to them in demolition works on their neighbouring land.
Held: The injunction should be granted. . .
[2008] EWHC 145 (Ch), Times 06-Feb-08

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 15 December 2020; Ref: scu.266303

Rex v Bell: 1822

‘that which is not a nuisance at the time it is done, cannot become so by length of time’
(1822) 1 LJKB (OS) 42
Cited by:
AppliedRadstock Co-operative and Industrial Society v Norton-Radstock Urban District Council 1976
. .
[1967] Ch 1094
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
Times 08-Jan-01, Gazette 05-Apr-01, [2000] EWCA Civ 300, [2000] EWCA Civ 299, [2001] BLR 55

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 15 December 2020; Ref: scu.220839

Moore v Lambeth Waterworks Co: 1886

The defendants were found not liable when a fireplug lawfully fixed in a highway had become exposed as the road surface had worn.
(1886) 17 QBD 46
Cited by:
ApprovedGreat Central Railway v Hewlett HL 1916
A railway company had been empowered to erect in a highway certain gateposts and in a war-time blackout a taxi-driver had run into them. The company was found not liable for the accident.
Held: The accident was caused by the post which had . .
[1916] 2 AC 511
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
Times 08-Jan-01, Gazette 05-Apr-01, [2000] EWCA Civ 300, [2000] EWCA Civ 299, [2001] BLR 55

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 15 December 2020; Ref: scu.220840

Dear v Thames Water and Others: 1992

(1992) 33 Con LR 43
Citing:
DistinguishedPride of Derby and Derbyshire Angling Association Ltd v British Celanese Ltd CA 1953
The plaintiff brought an action for nuisance against the local authority for having discharged insufficiently treated effluent into the river Derwent.
Held: The plaintiffs: ‘have a perfectly good cause of action for nuisance, if they can show . .
[1953] Ch 149

Cited by:
CitedBybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
Times 08-Jan-01, Gazette 05-Apr-01, [2000] EWCA Civ 300, [2000] EWCA Civ 299, [2001] BLR 55

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 15 December 2020; Ref: scu.220843

Paterson and Another v Humberside County Council: QBD 19 Apr 1995

A local authority was liable for nuisance for damage (cracks to house) caused by tree roots once it could be shown that it knew of the soil condition, by virtue of the council’s own warnings to residents of the danger in the area meant that the damage was foreseeable. The council was not liable for breach of statutory under the 1980 Act since it had not planted the trees.
The test of foreseeability was whether the risk was one which a reasonable person in the Defendant’s position would have regarded as a real risk as distinct from a risk which he would have been justified in disregarding and taking no steps to eliminate
Mr Toulson QC
Times 19-Apr-1995, [1995] CLY 3661, [1996] Const LJ 64
Highways Act 1980 96
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedBanque Bruxelles Lambert Sa v Eagle Star Insurance Co Ltd and Others CA 24-Feb-1995
The plaintiffs were mortgagees. The defendants were valuers. The defendants negligently over-valued properties and the plaintiffs then accepted mortgages of the properties. Later the property market collapsed and the various borrowers defaulted and . .
Times 24-Feb-95, Gazette 22-Mar-95, Times 21-Feb-95, [1995] QB 375, [1995] 2 All ER 769

Cited by:
CitedLoftus-Brigham and Another v London Borough of Ealing CA 28-Oct-2003
The claimants sought to recover for damages caused to their house foundations by trees growing nearby which were the responsibility of the defendants. The defendants replied that the damages was caused in part by roots from virgina creeper and . .
[2003] EWCA Civ 1490
CitedBerent v Family Mosaic Housing and Others TCC 25-May-2011
The claimant sought damages for subsidence to her property allegedly caused by the roots of trees on the defendants’ properties. Two large plane trees stood in the pavement outside the house and about 12 metres from it. . .
[2011] EWHC 1353 (TCC)

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 14 December 2020; Ref: scu.84608

Paxhaven Holdings Ltd v Attorney-General: 1974

(New Zealand) The court considered what interest in land was required to found an action in private nuisance: ‘In my opinion, however, the matter is clear in principle. In an action for nuisance the defence of jus tertii is excluded, and it is no answer for the respondent to contend in the present case that the nuisance was committed on an area of land mistakenly included in the grant of lease to the appellant from its landlord. De facto possession is sufficient to give the appellant his remedy’
Mahon J
[1974] 2 NZLR 185
Citing:

  • Applied – Foster v Warblington Urban District Council CA 1906
    A nuisance was caused by the discharge of sewage by the defendant council into oyster beds. The plaintiff was an oyster merchant who had for many years been in occupation of the oyster beds which had been artificially constructed on the foreshore, . .
    [1906] 1 KB 648

Cited by:

  • Cited – Hunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
    The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
    Gazette 14-May-97, Times 25-Apr-97, [1997] UKHL 14, [1997] AC 655, [1997] Fam Law 601, [1997] 2 All ER 426, [1997] 2 FLR 342, [1997] 2 WLR 684, [1997] Env LR 488, [1997] 54 Con LR 12, [1997] 84 BLR 1, [1997] CLC 1045, (1998) 30 HLR 409

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 December 2020; Ref: scu.195591

McKenna and Others v British Aluminum Ltd: ChD 16 Jan 2002

Claimants began an action in nuisance and Rylands v Fletcher against the respondents. They sought to strike out the claim on the basis that some of the claimants did not have a sufficient interest in the land affected. The rule in Rylands v Fletcher was an extension of the law of nuisance.
Held: On an interlocutory basis it was probable that the law of nuisance did apply, requiring the claimant’s to have an interest in land, but in the light of the extension of Human Rights law to common law, the claim could not be described as having no prospect of success, and the strike out request failed.
Mr Justice Neuberger
Times 25-Apr-2002
England and Wales
Citing:

  • Cited – British Celanese Ltd v A H Hunt (Capacitors) Ltd QBD 1969
    Metal foil had been blown from the defendant’s factory premises on to an electricity sub-station, which in turn brought the plaintiff’s machines to a halt.
    Held: The meaning Lawton J would give to the phrase ‘direct victim’ was a person whose . .
    [1969] 2 All ER 1252, [1969] 1 WLR 959
  • Cited – Rylands v Fletcher HL 1868
    The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
    Held: The defendant . .
    (1868) LR 3 HL 330, [1868] UKHL 1
  • Cited – Cambridge Water Company v Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL 9-Dec-1993
    The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
    Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
    Times 10-Dec-93, Gazette 16-Mar-94, Independent 10-Dec-93, (1994) 1 All ER 53, [1994] 2 WLR 53, [1994] 2 AC 264, [1993] UKHL 12

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 08 December 2020; Ref: scu.170174

Regina v Parlby: 1889

Sewage works could not be treated as ‘premises’ under the section. ‘The very magnitude of the authority conferred upon justices by the sections under consideration affords a powerful argument that they are intended for ordinary and comparatively simple cases . .’
(1889) 22 QBD 520
Public Health Act 1875 91
Cited by:

  • Not binding – Hounslow London Borough Council v Thames Water Utilities Ltd Admn 23-May-2003
    An abatement notice was served on the respondent in respect of the stink emanating from their sewage works. The magistrates decided that the workls did not constitute premises within the section, following Parlby.
    Held: Parlby was not binding, . .
    Times 09-Jun-03, Gazette 10-Jul-03, [2003] EWHC 1197 (Admin), [2003] 3 WLR 1243, [2004] QB 212
  • Cited – Vella v London Borough of Lambeth Admn 14-Nov-2005
    The claimant sought judicial review of the decision to serve an abatement notice in respect of premises where the normal noise incidents of living were heard in neighbouring flats, which notices were to be abated by noise insulation.
    Held: The . .
    Times 23-Nov-05, [2005] EWHC 2473 (Admin)

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 04 December 2020; Ref: scu.183839

Southport Corporation v Esso Petroleum Co Ltd: QBD 1953

An oil tanker ran aground in an estuary. The master jettisoned 400 tons of oil cargo to prevent the tanker breaking her back. The tide carried the oil slick on to a foreshore causing damage. The foreshore owners sued the shipowners in trespass, nuisance and negligence. However, the only negligence alleged on the pleadings was faulty navigation by the master for which it was said the owners were vicariously liable. The owners’ case was that the stranding was due to faulty steering gear caused by a crack in the stern frame. The defence of necessity was raised.
Held: The defence succeeded. Devlin J spoke in terms of an imminent danger to life rendering it necessary to inflict damage on another’s property. However, the doctrine of necessity could not operate to defeat liability for a negligent act committed by the defendant that was causative of the danger or emergency.
References: [1953] 3 WLR 773, [1953] 2 All ER 1204
Judges: Devlin J
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Appeal from – Southport Corporation v Esso Petroleum Co Ltd CA 3-Jun-1954
    The defendant’s tanker came aground, spilling fuel, for which the corporation claimed damages. The corporation appealed against rejection of that claim.
    Held: In order to support an action for private nuisance the defendant must have used his . .
    (, [1954] EWCA Civ 5, (1954) 118 JP 411, [1954] 2 QB 182, [1954] 2 All ER 561, [1954] 3 WLR 200, [1954] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 446)
  • At first instance – Esso Petroleum Co Ltd v Southport Corporation HL 1955
    A tanker, the Inverpool, was grounded in difficult weather by its master when he feared its back was broken. Substantial volumes of oil leaked, and the local authority sought to recover the costs of the clean up. At first instance, the defence of . .
    ([1955] 3 All ER 864, [1956] AC 218)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.581023

Prior of Southwards: 1498

The prior complained because the defendant, who was a glover, had made a lime pit for calf-skins so close to a stream as to pollute it.
Held: If the glover had dug the lime pit in the prior’s soil, the action ought to be in trespass: but if it was made in the glover’s soil it should be in case.
References: [1498] YB Henry 7 26
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Routledge v McKay and others CA 10-Mar-1954
    In considering whether a statement amounts to a warranty in a contract, the court may have regard to the time which has elapsed between the time of making the statement and the final implementation of the agreement; if the interval is a long one, . .
    (, [1954] EWCA Civ 8, [1954] 1 All ER 855, [1954] 1 WLR 615)
  • Cited – Southport Corporation v Esso Petroleum Co Ltd CA 3-Jun-1954
    The defendant’s tanker came aground, spilling fuel, for which the corporation claimed damages. The corporation appealed against rejection of that claim.
    Held: In order to support an action for private nuisance the defendant must have used his . .
    (, [1954] EWCA Civ 5, (1954) 118 JP 411, [1954] 2 QB 182, [1954] 2 All ER 561, [1954] 3 WLR 200, [1954] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 446)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.581031

Bridlington Relay Ltd v Yorkshire Electricity Board: ChD 1965

The case concerned electrical interference with TV signals caused by the activities of the defendant Electricity Board.
Held: Such interference did not constitute a legal nuisance, because it was interference with a purely recreational facility, as opposed to interference with the health or physical comfort or well-being of the plaintiffs. The court did not exclude the possibility that ability to receive television signals free from interference might one day be recognised as ‘so important a part of an ordinary householder’s enjoyment of his property that such interference should be regarded as a legal nuisance, particularly, perhaps, if such interference affects only one of the available alternative programmes.’
References: [1965] Ch 436
Judges: Buckley J
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Hunter and Others v Canary Wharf Ltd HL 25-Apr-1997
    The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
    (Gazette 14-May-97, Times 25-Apr-97, , [1997] UKHL 14, [1997] AC 655, [1997] Fam Law 601, [1997] 2 All ER 426, [1997] 2 FLR 342, [1997] 2 WLR 684, [1997] Env LR 488, [1997] 54 Con LR 12, [1997] 84 BLR 1, [1997] CLC 1045, (1998) 30 HLR 409)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.184134

H and N Emanuel Ltd v Greater London Council: CA 1971

Notwithstanding a clause in the contract that no rubbish was to be burnt on the site, it was known to the Council that the contractor it had engaged to demolish and remove prefabricated bungalows made a practice of burning off small pieces of wood on the sites where he was engaged to demolish such buildings. The fire escaped damaged the neighbour’s property.
Held: The Greater London Council as successor of the London County Council was liable, as occupier, for the escape of fire negligently so caused.
Lord Denning MR considered the scope of liability at common law. He said: ‘After considering the cases, it is my opinion that the occupier of a house or land is liable for the escape of fire which is due to the negligence not only of his servants, but also of his independent contractors and of his guests, and of anyone who is there with his leave or licence. The only circumstances when the occupier is not liable for the negligence is when it is the negligence of a stranger. It was so held in a case in the Year Books 570 years ago, Beaulieu v Finglam, which is well translated by Mr Fifoot in his book on the History and Sources of the Common Law. The occupier is, therefore, liable for the negligence of an independent contractor, such as the man who comes in to repair the pipes and uses a blowlamp: see Balfour v Barty-King; and of a guest who negligently drops a lighted match: see Boulcott Golf Club Inc v Engelbrecht. The occupier is liable because he is the occupier and responsible in that capacity for those who come by his leave and licence: see Sturges v Hackett. But the occupier is not liable for the escape of fire which is not due to the negligence of anyone. Sir John Holt himself said in Tuberville v Stampe that if a man is properly burning up weeds or stubble and, owing to an unforeseen wind-storm, without negligence, the fire is carried into his neighbour’s ground, he is not liable. Again, if a haystack is properly built at a safe distance, and yet bursts into flames by spontaneous combustion, without negligence, the occupier is not liable. That is to be inferred from Vaughan v Menlove. So also if a fire starts without negligence owing to an unknown defect in the electric wiring: Collingwood v Home and Colonial Stores Ltd; or a spark leaps out of the fireplace without negligence: Sochacki v Sas.’ and
‘There has been much discussion about the exact legal basis of liability for fire. The liability of the occupier can be said to be a strict liability in this sense that he is liable for the negligence not only of his servants but also of independent contractors and, indeed, of anyone except a ‘stranger’. By the same token it can be said to be a ‘vicarious liability’, because he is liable for the defaults of others as well as his own. It can also be said to be a liability under the principle of Rylands v Fletcher because fire is undoubtedly a dangerous thing which is likely to do damage if it escapes. But I do not think it necessary to put it into any one of these three categories. It goes back to the time when no such categories were thought of. Suffice it to say that the extent of the liability is now well defined as I have stated it. The occupier is liable for the escape of fire which is due to the negligence of anyone other than a stranger.’
References: [1971] 2 All ER 835
Judges: Lord Denning MR
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Stannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) v Gore CA 4-Oct-2012
    The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
    (, [2012] EWCA Civ 1248, [2013] Env LR 10, [2012] WLR(D) 266, [2012] 42 EG 133, [2013] 1 All ER 694)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.512158

Hampstead and Suburban Properties v Diomedus: 1969

McGarry J said: ‘nuisance and annoyance will continue to be regarded by the court according to robust and commonsense standards’.
References: [1969] 1 Ch 258
Judges: McGarry J
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Woods and Another v Riley and Another CA 4-Jul-2005
    Neighbours claimed under a covenant requiring the defendants not to use their land in such a way as to cause a nuisance. The neighbours had extended their shop so as to include a post office.
    Held: The appeal was dismissed. Claims in nuisance . .
    (, [2005] EWCA Civ 1129)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 27 November 2020; Ref: scu.230987

Lloyd v Symonds, Anderson and Lucas: CA 20 Mar 1998

Appeal against injunction in nuisance to stop keeping breeding kennels. The neighbour had begun keeping the kennels, and the neighbour complained to the local Environmental Health office. Abatement notices were served, and the neighbour respondent was granted an interim injunction by the district judge in the County Court. At first instance the judge had then found the noise to have been an actionable nuisance, but also that it had been abated to a limited extent after service of the abatement notices.
Chadwick LJ said that:
‘On the basis of the judge’s finding that the previous nuisance had ceased at the end of May 1996 the injunction which he granted on 7th January 1997 was quia timet. It was an injunction granted, not to restrain anything that the defendants were doing (then or at the commencement of the proceedings on 20th June 1996), but to restrain something which (as the plaintiff alleged) they were threatening or intending to do. Such an injunction should not, ordinarily, be granted unless the plaintiff can show a strong probability that, unless restrained, the defendant will do something which will cause the plaintiff irreparable harm – that is to say, harm which, if it occurs, cannot be reversed or restrained by an immediate interlocutory injunction and cannot be adequately compensated by an award for damages. There will be cases in which the court can be satisfied that, if the defendant does what he is threatening to do, there is so strong a probability of an actionable nuisance that it is proper to restrain the act in advance rather than leave the plaintiff to seek an immediate injunction once the nuisance has commenced. ‘Preventing justice excelleth punishing justice’ — see Graigola Merthyr Co Ltd v Swansea Corporation [1928] Ch 235 at page 242. But, short of that, the court ought not to interfere to restrain a threatened action in circumstances in which it is satisfied that it can do complete justice by appropriate orders made if and when the threat of nuisance materialises into actual nuisance (see Attorney-General v Nottingham Corporation [1904] 1 Ch 673 at page 677) . . In the present case, therefore, I am persuaded that the judge approached the question whether or not to grant a permanent injunction on the wrong basis. He should have asked himself whether there was a strong probability that, unless restrained by injunction, the defendants would act in breach of the Abatement Notice served on 22nd April 1996. That notice itself prohibited the causing of a nuisance. Further he should have asked himself whether, if the defendants did act in contravention of that notice, the damage suffered by the plaintiff would be so grave and irreparable that, notwithstanding the grant of an immediate interlocutory injunction (at that stage) to restrain further occurrence of the acts complained of, a remedy in damages would be inadequate. Had the judge approached the question on that basis, I am satisfied that he could not have reached the conclusion that the grant of a permanent injunction quia timet was appropriate in the circumstances of this case.’
References: [1998] EWCA Civ 511
Links: Bailii
Judges: Chadwick LJ
Statutes: Environmental Protection Act 1990
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case cites:

  • Cited – Robinson v Kilvert CA 1889
    The Covenant for quiet enjoyment is broken in the case of interference by the lessor, or those lawfully claiming under him, not only with the title to, or possession of land, but also with the lawful enjoyment of the premises for the purposes for . .
    ((1889) 41 Ch 88, (1889) 58 LJ Ch 392, (1889) 61 LT 60, (1889) 37 WR 545)

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA 3-Jul-2018
    Japanese Knotweed escape is nuisance
    The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .
    (, [2018] EWCA Civ 1514)
  • Cited – Vastint Leeds Bv v Persons Unknown ChD 24-Sep-2018
    The claimant company sought a final injunction to prevent others occupying its land in Leeds. It was a quia timet injunction anticipating future acts of occupation by caravans, fly-tipping and use of the land for illegal raves.
    Held: The . .
    (, [2018] EWHC 2456 (Ch, [2019] 4 WLR 2)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 21 November 2020; Ref: scu.143989

Rich v Basterfield: 3 Jul 1947

Although the owner of property may, as occupier, be responsible for injuries arising from acts done upon that property by persons who are there by his permission, though not strictly his agents or servants, such liability attaches only upon parties in actual possession. – Where, therefore, an action was brought against A., the owner of premises, for a nuisance arising from smoke issuing out of a chimney, to the prejudice of the plaintiff in his occupation of an adjoining messuage, on the ground that A, having erected the chimney, and let the premises with the chimney so erected, had impliedly authorised the lighting to a fire therein. Held that the action would not lie. Held, also, that, inasmuch as the premises were in the occupation of B a tenarit, at the time the fires were lighted, A. was entitled to a verdict on a pIea of ‘not possessed,’ the allegation as to possession, having reference to the time when the nuisance complained of was committed, and not to the time at which the chimney was erected.
References: [1847] EngR 693
Links: Commonlii
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case cites:

  • Appeal from – Rich v Basterfield 5-Feb-1846
    A landlord can be liable in nuisance for the acts of his tenant where the very nature of the letting would lead to that nuisance: ‘If a landlord lets premises, not in themselves a nuisance, but which may or may not be used by the tenant so as to . .
    ([1847] 4 CB 783, (1847) 136 ER 715, [1846] EngR 391, , (1846) 2 Car and K 257, (1846) 175 ER 106)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 21 November 2020; Ref: scu.573095

Pemberton v Bright and Another: CA 1960

A culvert had been altered and extended in 1926 and the entrance left uncovered and unprotected.
Held: The interference with the flow of water created a potential nuisance in that ‘heavy rain was always a potential danger unless properly controlled and this at least was a place where a grid would have stopped, or would have probably stopped, debris getting past it.’ Liability thus for flooding which occurred in 1956 was established.
References: [1960] 1 WLR 436
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case cites:

  • Adopted – Corporation of Greenock v Caledonian Railway Company HL 1917
    The West Burn flowed in a channel considerably below the surrounding ground which drained into it and in particular was below the level of Inverkip Road. In 1908, in order to form a playground for children, the natural channel of the West Burn was . .
    ([1917] AC 556)

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Bybrook Barn Garden Centre Ltd and Others v Kent County Council CA 8-Jan-2001
    A culvert had been constructed taking a stream underneath the road. At the time when it came into the ownership of the local authority, it was adequate for this purpose. Later developments increased the flow, and the culvert came to become an . .
    (Times 08-Jan-01, Gazette 05-Apr-01, , , [2000] EWCA Civ 300, [2000] EWCA Civ 299, [2001] BLR 55)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 21 November 2020; Ref: scu.220838

Rich v Basterfield: 5 Feb 1846

A landlord can be liable in nuisance for the acts of his tenant where the very nature of the letting would lead to that nuisance: ‘If a landlord lets premises, not in themselves a nuisance, but which may or may not be used by the tenant so as to become a nuisance, and it is entirely at the option of the tenants so to use them or not, and the landlord receives the same benefit whether they are used or not, the landlord cannot be made responsible for the acts of the tenants.’
References: [1847] 4 CB 783, (1847) 136 ER 715, [1846] EngR 391, (1846) 2 Car and K 257, (1846) 175 ER 106
Links: Commonlii
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Mowan v London Borough of Wandsworth and Another CA 21-Dec-2000
    The claimant tenant sought damages from the landlord and neighbour and fellow tenant for nuisance caused by the neighbour’s aberrant behaviour.
    Sir Christopher Staughton said: ‘there is a strong trend in the cases in favour of the landlord who . .
    (, [2000] EWCA Civ 357, (2001) EGCS 4, (2001) LGR 228, [2001] 33 HLR 56)
  • Cited – Smith v Scott ChD 1973
    It is not open to the court to reshape the law relating to the rights and liabilities of landowners by applying the principle of Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562 and thus saying that a landowner owed a duty of care to his neighbour when selecting . .
    ([1973] Ch 314, [1972] 3 All ER 645, [1972] 3 WLR 783)
  • Cited – LMS International Ltd and others v Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC 30-Sep-2005
    The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
    Held: To . .
    (, [2005] EWHC 2065 (TCC))
  • Cited – Lawrence and Another v Fen Tigers Ltd and Others QBD 4-Mar-2011
    The claimants had complained that motor-cycle and other racing activities on neighbouring lands were a noise nuisance, but the court also considered that agents of the defendants had sought to intimidate the claimants into not pursuing their action. . .
    (, [2011] EWHC 360 (QB), [2011] 4 All ER 1314)
  • Appeal from – Rich v Basterfield 3-Jul-1947
    Although the owner of property may, as occupier, be responsible for injuries arising from acts done upon that property by persons who are there by his permission, though not strictly his agents or servants, such liability attaches only upon parties . .
    ([1847] EngR 693, )

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 21 November 2020; Ref: scu.186071

Botross v Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council: QBD 7 Nov 1994

Statutory nuisance proceedings are in their nature criminal proceedings, and compensation may be awarded by the court.
References: Times 07-Nov-1994, (1994) 16 Cr App R (S) 622
Statutes: Environmental Protection Act 1990 82(1)
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case cites:

  • Adopted – Regina v Inner London Crown Court ex parte Bentham QBD 1989
    The defendant sought legal aid to defend an action to abate a statutory nuisance under the 1936 Act.
    Held: Such an action was criminal in nature. The action had been brought under section 99, but the imposition of a penalty under s94 was a . .
    ([1989] 1 WLR 408)

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Regina v Liverpool Crown Court, Ex Parte Cooke QBD 3-Apr-1996
    Complaint was made against the council for creating a statutory nuisance under the 1990 Act. The tenant sought compensation under the 1973 Act. The council appealed an award of andpound;3,000 compensation.
    Held: Compensation should be awarded . .
    (Times 22-Apr-96, [1996] 4 All ER 589)
  • Followed – Davenport v Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council CA 17-Mar-1995
    The court was concerned with the refusal of the magistrates to make a compensation order after a plea of guilty to a statutory nuisance. The magistrates had also refused to award costs of the adjourned hearing at which compensation had been sought. . .
    (Unreported, 17 March 1995, [1995] 28 HLR 504)

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 21 November 2020; Ref: scu.78502

Network Housing Association Ltd v Westminster City Council: QBD 7 Nov 1994

An abatement notice was addressed by the respondent city council to freehold owners of tenanted premises, in respect of a noise source which it was out of their power to stop. This was noise from perfectly normal everyday living, which reached one flat from the flat above due to the absence (under ceiling, on floor or in the ceiling/underfloor void) of proper insulation. The only way in which the housing association could therefore abate the nuisance was by installing proper sound insulation. Nothing effective was said about how the noise could be abated, because the experts differed.
Held: A nuisance or noise abatement notice had to be specific enough to allow the person served to gain knowledge of what work was required of him to be carried out to secure compliance.
References: Times 08-Nov-1994, Ind Summary 07-Nov-1994, [1995] Env LR 176, [1995] 27 HLR 189
Statutes: Environmental Protection Act 1990
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Surrey Free Inns Plc v Gosport Borough Council Admn 28-Jan-1998
    The local authority issued a noise nuisance abatement notice. By the time the matter came to the court, the nuisance had been abated.
    Held: The background situation justifying the issue of a nuisance abatement notice was to be assessed at the . .
    (Times 13-Feb-98, Gazette 11-Feb-98, , [1998] EWHC Admin 92)
  • Cited – David Budd v Colchester Borough Council CA 30-Jan-1997
    The applicant sought leave to appeal against a decision confirming a noise abatement notice under the Act. He kept dogs, and neighbours had complained of the noise. He complained that the notice neither specified the nuisance complained of, nor . .
    (, [1997] EWCA Civ 880)
  • Cited – Kirklees Metropolitan Council v Field; Thackray; Marsh and Wilson Admn 31-Oct-1997
    An abatement notice requiring works to be carried out must state clearly what works are required or considered necessary. There was an imminent danger of the collapse onto some cottages of a rockface and wall where the notice was addressed to the . .
    (Times 26-Nov-97, Gazette 26-Nov-97, , [1997] EWHC Admin 960)
  • Cited – AMEC Building Limited and Squibb and Davies Limited v London Borough of Camden Admn 19-Jul-1996
    . .
    ([1996] EWHC Admin 41)
  • Cited – Vella v London Borough of Lambeth Admn 14-Nov-2005
    The claimant sought judicial review of the decision to serve an abatement notice in respect of premises where the normal noise incidents of living were heard in neighbouring flats, which notices were to be abated by noise insulation.
    Held: The . .
    (Times 23-Nov-05, , [2005] EWHC 2473 (Admin))

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 21 November 2020; Ref: scu.84259

Lambie and Another v Thanet District Council: QBD 17 Aug 2000

The local authority served notices for noise abatement, requiring the land owners to install sound limiting devices. The owners claimed that the terms of the notice were ultra vires in requiring them to allow entrance to the authority’s officers, and were uncertain in their requirements.
Held: The notices required a step to be taken within the Act, and were valid. The uncertainty in the remaining parts of the notice could be cured by substitution of a general reference to residential property.
References: Gazette 17-Aug-2000
Statutes: Environmental Protection Act 1990 80

Last Update: 21 November 2020; Ref: scu.82908

Hewlings v Mclean Homes East Anglia Ltd: QBD 3 Aug 2000

The appellants had served a notice requiring abatement of a nuisance on an address from which senior officers had previously corresponded but which was not the registered office of the company. The requirement in the Act to serve the notice at the proper address was not mandatory. The intention was to provide summary relief in a form accessible to the layman. In the case of a limited company, the notice could be served upon either the company’s principal or registered offices.
References: Times 31-Aug-2000, Gazette 03-Aug-2000, Gazette 12-Oct-2000
Statutes: Environmental Protection Act 1990 82

Last Update: 21 November 2020; Ref: scu.81354

Dymond v Pearce: CA 13 Jan 1972

A motorcyclist crashed into the rear of a lorry stationary on the carriageway. The plaintff said that the parking of the lorry was a nuisance, and that if it had not been so parked, there would have been no accident.
Held: The appeal failed. The accident was due wholly to the negligence of the motorcyclist. ‘sine qua non is not an all-sufficient basis for establishing liability.’ In criminal law at least nuisance must be actual as opposed to potential.
References: [1972] 1 All ER 1142, [1972] EWCA Civ 7, [1972] 2 WLR 633, [1972] 1 QB 496, [1972] RTR 169
Links: Bailii
Judges: Sachs LJ, Edmund Davies LJ, Stephenson LJ
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case cites:

  • Cited – Morton v Wheeler CA 31-Jan-1956
    Sharp spikes by the side of a highway were said to be a nuisance. Lord Denning MR said: ‘As all lawyers know, the tort of public nuisance is a curious mixture. It covers a multitude of sins. We are concerned to-day with only one of them, namely, a . .
    (1956 CA 33)
  • Cited – Maitland v Raisbeck CA 1944
    Lord Greene MR said: ‘Every person . . has a right to use the highway and, if something happens to him which in fact causes an obstruction to the highway but is in no way referable to his fault, it is quite impossible, in my view, to say that ipso . .
    ([1944] 1 KB 689)
  • Cited – Farrel v Mowlem 1954
    The defendant had without justification laid a pipe across a pavement and the plaintiff tripped over it and was injured.
    Held: The defendant was liable in nuisance. Devlin J said, as to the pipe: ‘No doubt it is a comparatively harmless sort . .
    ([1954] Lloyds LR 440)
  • Cited – Read v J Lyons and Co Ltd HL 1946
    The plaintiff was employed by the Ministry of Defence, inspecting a weapons factory. A shell exploded injuring her. No negligence was alleged. The company worked as agent for the ministry.
    Held: The respondents were not liable, since there had . .
    ([1947] AC 156, [1946] 2 All ER 471, [1947] LJR 39, [1946] 175 LT 413, [1946] 62 TLR 646, [1946] 91 Sol J Jo 54, , [1946] UKHL 2)
  • Cited – Overseas Tankship (UK) Ltd v Miller Steamship Co Pty (The Wagon Mound) (No 2) PC 25-May-1966
    (New South Wales) When considering the need to take steps to avoid injury, the court looked to the nature of defendant’s activity. There was no social value or cost saving in this defendant’s activity. ‘In the present case there was no justification . .
    ([1967] 2 AC 617, , [1966] UKPC 1, [1966] 1 Lloyd’s Rep 657, [1966] 2 All ER 709, [1966] 3 WLR 498)
  • Cited – Parish v Judd 1960
    A lorry and a car it was towing stopped, obstructing the highway. The plaintiff crashed into them, and claimed that they constituted a nuisance. The vehicles had only just stopped, and the driver was checking that all was well with the car. The . .
    ([1960] 1 WLR 867)
  • Cited – Trevetts 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 . .
    ([1955] 1 WLR 113, [1955] 1 All ER 406)
  • Cited – Morton v Weaver CA 31-Jan-1956
    The court distinguished between obstructions of a highway and dangers created on it. Lord Denning MR asked: ‘How are we to determine whether a state of affairs in or near a highway is a danger?’ and answered ‘This depends, I think, on whether injury . .
    (Unreported, 31/01/1956)

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Rouse v Squires CA 22-Mar-1973
    . .
    (, [1973] EWCA Civ 9, [1972] 2 All ER 903, [1973] 2 WLR 925, [1973] RTR 550, [1973] QB 889)
  • Cited – Houghton v Stannard QBD 29-Oct-2003
    . .
    (, [2003] EWHC 2666 (QB))

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 21 November 2020; Ref: scu.188834

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.
References: [1933] Ch 298, [1932] All ER 59, 102 LJ Ch 6, 148 LT 303, 96 JP 525, 76 Sol 849, 31 LGR 18
Judges: Romer LJ, Lord Hanworth MR, Lawrence LJ
Statutes: Metropolis Management Act 1855 122
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case cites:

  • Cited – Lingke v Christchurch Corporation CA 1912 ([1912] 3 KB 595)
    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 . .
  • Cited – Herring v Metropolitan Board of Works CCP 1865 ((1865) 19 CBNS 509)
    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 . .

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Westminster City Council v Ocean Leisure Limited CA 21-Jul-2004 ([2004] EWCA Civ 970, , Times 02-Sep-04)
    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 . .
  • Cited – Moto Hospitality Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport CA 26-Jul-2007 (, [2007] EWCA Civ 764, [2007] NPC 95, [2007] RVR 247, (2007) 157 SJLB 1426, [2008] 1 WLR 2822, [2008] 2 All ER 718)
    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 . .
  • Cited – Trevetts v Lee CA 1955 ([1955] 1 WLR 113, [1955] 1 All ER 406)
    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 . .
  • Cited – Dwyer v Mansfield 1946 ([1946] KB 437, [1946] 2 All ER 247, [1947] LJR 894, 175 LT 61, 62 TLR 401, 90 Sol Jo 443)
    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 . .
  • Cited – Almeroth v WE Chivers and Son Ltd CA 1948 ([1948] 1 All ER 53, 92 Sol Jo 71)
    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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 16 November 2020; Ref: scu.201635

Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd v Ryan and Another: PC 19 Oct 2017

(From the Court of Appeal of Trinidad and Tobago) The company appealed from a finding that it was liable for personal injuries suffered by neighbours to a disused oil well suffered it was said from fumes from the well.
Held: The appal succeeded. There had infact been no evidence to support the finding that the well was causative of the injuries suffered.
References: [2017] UKPC 30
Links: Bailii
Judges: Lady Hale, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lord Hughes
Jurisdiction: Commonwealth

Last Update: 14 November 2020; Ref: scu.598627

Peires v Bickerton’s Aerodromes Ltd: CA 12 Apr 2017

The claimant complained of noise nuisance. The defendant appealed from rejection of its defence of immunity under the 1982 Act.
Held: The appeal succeeded: ‘There is nothing in section 76(1) which makes it a precondition of immunity that the flight or ordinary incidents of the flight must be reasonable. The only specified requirement as to reasonableness is in relation to the height of the aircraft ‘having regard to wind, weather and all the circumstances of the case’. The Judge made no finding that the height of the helicopters is unreasonable having regard to those factors. That is not surprising since Mrs Peires’ real complaint is about frequency and duration rather than height. As to those matters, as Mr Marland observed, the immunity conferred by section 76(1) is only relevant if there would otherwise be an actionable nuisance and so presupposes use that would, aside from the statutory immunity, be unreasonable.’
References: [2017] EWCA Civ 273, [2017] WLR(D) 277, [2017] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 330, [2017] Env LR 32, [2017] LLR 594, [2017] 1 WLR 2865
Links: Bailii, WLRD
Judges: Sir Terence Etherton MR, Underhill, King LJJ
Statutes: Civil Aviation Act 1982 76(1) 77(2)
Jurisdiction: England and Wales

Last Update: 05 November 2020; Ref: scu.582095

The Worshipful Company of Grocers v Keltbray Group Holdings Ltd and Another: QBD 19 May 2016

Allegation that a collapse in a nearby building caused a water leak in the claimant’s nearby building.
Held: the effects of the collapse did not cause the major cracking at Grocers’ Hall which was reported on following the flood. The Grocers have failed to make out their case that the damage to the cistern and the consequent flood were caused by the effects of the collapse.
References: [2016] EWHC 1167 (QB)
Links: Bailii
Judges: Salter QC HHJ
This case cites:

  • Cited – Rhesa Shipping Co SA v Edmonds (The Popi M) HL 16-May-1985 ([1985] 2 All ER 712, [1985] 1 WLR 948, [1985] 2 Lloyds Rep 1, [1985] UKHL 15, )
    The Popi M sank in calm seas and fair weather as a result of a large and sudden entry of water into her engine room through her shell plating. The vessel’s owners claimed against her hull and machinery underwriters, contending that the loss was . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 22 October 2020; Ref: scu.566255

Farquharson v Farquharson: 1741

‘It was found lawful for one to build a fence upon his own ground, by the side of a river, to prevent damage to his ground by the overflow of the river, though thereby a damage should happen to his neighbour by throwing the whole overflow in time of flood upon his ground. But it was found not lawful to use any operation in the alveus.’ (Deans of Court of Session, William Maxwell Morison)
References: (1811) vol XXIX-XXX, 12779.
Jurisdiction: Scotland
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Arscott and others v Coal Authority and Another CA 13-Jul-2004 (, [2004] EWCA Civ 892, [2005] Env LR6)
    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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 14 October 2020; Ref: scu.199367

Walter v Selfe: 1851

The burning of bricks on he defendant’s land was a nuisance to the plaintiff’s neighbouring house. An injunction was granted. The court should ask: ‘ought this inconvenience to be considered in fact as more than fanciful, more than one of mere delicacy or fastidiousness, as an inconvenience materially interfering with the ordinary comfort physically of human existence, not merely according to elegant or dainty modes and habits of living, but according to plain and sober and simple notions among the English people?’
References: [1851] EngR 335, (1851) 4 De G and Sm 315, (1851) 64 ER 849
Links: Commonlii
Judges: Knight Bruce V-C
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Ann Murdoch and Duncan Murdoch v Glacier Metal Company Limited CA 19-Jan-1998 (Gazette 18-Feb-98, , [1998] EWCA Civ 33, Times 21-Jan-98)
    Excess noise by nearby factory above World Health Organisation level was not an actionable nuisance. It was a question for each factual situation. An allowance had to be made for the character of the neighbourhood. . .
  • Cited – Thornhill and Others v Nationwide Metal Recycling Ltd and Another CA 29-Jul-2011 (, [2011] EWCA Civ 919)
    The appellants challenged a decision that the defendants had ceased to be committing an actionable nuisance after erecting a sound barrier between their metal scrap yard and the claimants’ properties.
    Held: The judge had correcly applied the . .
  • Applied – Adams v Ursell ChD 17-Jan-1913 ([1913] 1 Ch 269, )
    A house owner complained that his neighbur’s fish and chip shop was emitting odours which impinged on the enjoyment of his house.
    Held: Such odours might amount to a sufficient interference to constitute a nuisance. . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Last Update: 04 October 2020; Ref: scu.184810

Fay v Prentice And Another: 1845

References: [1845] EngR 79, (1845) 1 CB 828, (1845) 135 ER 769
Links: Commonlii
Ratio: A declaration in case stated that the defendant, being possessed of a messuage adjoining a garden of the plaintiff, erected a cornice upon his messuage, projecting over the garden, by means whereof rain-water flowed from the cornice into the garden, and damaged the same, and the plaintiff had been incommoded in the possession and enjoyment of his garden.
Held: The erection of the cornice was a nuisance from which the law would infer injury to the plaintiff ; and that he was entitled to maintain an action in respect thereof, without proof that rain had fallen between the period of the erection of the cornice and the commencement of the action: Held, also, that the declaration was not to be construed as alleging a trespass.
Jurisdiction: England and Wales
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Lemmon v Webb HL ([1895] AC 1, Bailii, [1894] UKHL 1)
    A land-owner was free to lop off boughs from his neighbours trees to the extent that they reached over his land, and he could lop them without going on to the neighbour’s land. He was not required to give notice of his intention to do so. . .
  • Cited – Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Williams and Another CA (Bailii, [2018] EWCA Civ 1514)
    The defendant appealed against an order as to its liability in private nuisance for the escape of Japanese Knotweed from its land onto the land of the claimant neighbours. No physical damage to properties had yet been shown, but the reduction in . .

(This list may be incomplete)

Last Update: 19 March 2019
Ref: 303221

Banfai v Formula Fun Centre Inc; 13 Dec 1984

References: 1984 CanLII 2198, 34 CCLT 171(HCJ), [1984] OJ No 3444
Links: Canlii
Coram: O’Leary J
Ratio: Canlii Ontario › Superior Court of Justice – The defendants operated an automobile-racing amusement ride on land adjacent to the plaintiffs’ motels. The plaintiffs and their customers complained of the noise emanating from the defendants’ ride. The plaintiffs brought an action in nuisance against the defendants seeking damages and an injunction.
Held, there should be judgment for the plaintiffs.
The noise created by the racing cars was not in keeping with the other noises in the vicinity. Generally speaking it was considerably louder and sharper than those noises, and was pervasive, intrusive, and annoying, while the other sounds of the area generally were not. In addition, the fumes and smoke from the track were completely out of keeping with such air pollution as otherwise existed in the area. The noise from the track by itself constituted an unreasonable, undue and material interference with the plaintiffs’ enjoyment of their property. The complaints of the plaintiffs did not arise from any abnormal sensitivity or delicacies on their part. The noise from the track was such that a high percentage of normal persons would find the noise disturbing and unacceptable. It was a noise that the plaintiffs should not have to put up with, given the character of the area in which they conduct their business.
An owner of land who leases it knowing the tenant is going to use it for an automobile-racing amusement ride is liable for the nuisance created by the tenant. Although normally an owner is not liable for the nuisance committed by a tenant, where the nuisance arises ‘from the natural and necessary result of what the landlord authorized’ or ‘the use from which the damage or nuisance necessarily arises was plainly contemplated by the lease’, then the owner-landlord is liable.
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Coventry and Others v Lawrence and Another (No 2) SC (Bailii, [2014] UKSC 46, [2014] WLR(D) 332, UKSC 2012/0076, SC Summary, SC, WLRD, [2014] PTSR 1014, [2014] 4 All ER 517, [2015] 1 AC 106, [2014] 3 WLR 555, [2014] HLR 42, [2014] 5 Costs LO 759, [2014] 2 P &CR 19, SC Summary Video)
    Consequential judgment. Mr Coventry had been found liable in the principle judgment in nuisance to the appellant neighbours. The Court was now asked as to several matters arising. First, to what extent were the defendants’ landlords liable to the . .

(This list may be incomplete)

Last Update: 06-Sep-16
Ref: 551696

Munro v Southern Dairies; 18 Apr 1955

References: [1955] VLR 332, [1955] ALR 793, [1955] VicLawRp 60
Links: Austlii
Coram: Sholl J
Ratio: (Victoria) Nuisance – Horses kept on dairy premises without proper stabling – Interference with use and enjoyment of neighbouring premises – Loss of sleep by neighbouring occupier as a result thereof – Whether reasonable’ use of the premises or public benefit are defences – Whether a trade essential to the locality can be complained of – Extent to which evidence of economic necessity for delivery of milk by horse – drawn vehicles is relevant – Jurisdiction to refuse injunction – on undertaking by defendant to erect proper stables.
Sholl J said: ‘If a man chooses to make his home in the heart of a coalfield or in a manufacturing district, he can expect no more freedom from the discomfort usually associated with such a place than any other resident can.’ but granted an injunction: ‘To restrain the defendant, by its directors, servants and agents, from causing or permitting on the premises at Grenville Street and Whylis Street, Hampton, on which it now conducts its business, any nuisance (whether by way of smell, noise or flies . . )’
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Coventry and Others v Lawrence and Another SC (Bailii, [2014] UKSC 13, [2014] 2 P &CR 2, [2014] 2 All ER 622, [2014] BLR 271, [2014] HLR 21, [2014] Env LR 25, [2014] 1 AC 822, 152 Con LR 1, [2014] 2 WLR 433, [2014] PTSR 384, Bailii Summary, UKSC 2012/0076, SC Summary, SC)
    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 . .

(This list may be incomplete)

Last Update: 28-Jul-16
Ref: 536799

Swaine v The Great Northern Railway Company; 25 Jan 1864

References: [1864] EngR 173, (1864) 4 De G J & S 211, (1864) 46 ER 899
Links: Commonlii
Ratio Occurrences of nuisance, if temporary and occasional only, are not grounds for the interference of the Court of Chancery by injunction, except in extreme cases. Therefore, where a railway company carried down to and deposited on a siding to their line manure which was occasionally not proper manure, and they occasionally allowed it to remain there longer than it ought to have remained : Held, in a suit by a neighbouring landowner for an injunction to restrain the nuisance and for damages:
1. That the court would not interfere by way of injunction.
2. That the Court would not enter into the question of damages, the case being one which, in the judgment ofthe Court, could be more effectually disposed of at law than in equity, and Sir Hugh Cairns’s Act (21 & 22 Vict. c. 27) only giving the Court of Chancery jurisdiction to give damages in any case where a bill is properly filed in it, while Mr. Rolt’s Act (25 & 26 Vict. c. 42) does not make it compulsory on the Court so to do.

Last Update: 21-Apr-16
Ref: 281887

Viscount Canterbury v The Attorney-General; 11 Feb 1843

References: [1843] EngR 359, (1842-1843) 1 Ph 306, (1843) 41 ER 648
Links: Commonlii
Whether the protection given by the statutes 6 Ann. c. 31, and 14 G 3, c, 78, toa party in whose house or on whose estate ‘a fire shall accidentally begin’ extends to fires occasioned by the negligence of the owner or his servants, or, whether it is confined to fires arising from pure accident in the limited sense of the word.
Qaere?
A petition of right does not lie to recover compensation from the Crown for damage to the property of an individual, occasioned by the negligence of the servants of the Crown.
The reigning Sovereign is not liable to make compesation for damage to the property of an individual occasioned by the negligence of the servants of the Crown in a preceding reign ; nor, semble, even where such damage has been done in his own reign.
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Stannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) -v- Gore CA (Bailii, [2012] EWCA Civ 1248, [2013] Env LR 10, [2012] WLR(D) 266, [2012] 42 EG 133, [2013] 1 All ER 694)
    The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .

Richards v Easto; 21 Feb 1846

References: [1846] EngR 436, (1846) 15 M & W 244, (1846) 153 ER 840
Links: Commonlii
Section 86 of the 1774 Act applies to the whole country.
Statutes: Fires Prevention Metropolis Act 1774
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Stannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) -v- Gore CA (Bailii, [2012] EWCA Civ 1248, [2013] Env LR 10, [2012] WLR(D) 266, [2012] 42 EG 133, [2013] 1 All ER 694)
    The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .

Aldridge v The Great Western Railway Company; 19 Nov 1841

References: , [1841] EngR 1095, (1841) 3 Man & G 515, (1841) 133 ER 1246
Links: Commonlii
Case against a railway company for so carelessly and improperly managing and directing an engine on their railway by their servants, that sparks flew from the engine upon a stack of beans standing in an adjoining field, belonging to the plaintiff, whereby the stack was destroyed. A case stated for the opinion of the court, under the statute, alleged that the engines used upon the railway were such as were usually employed on railways, for the purpose of propelling the trains and carriages thereon ; and that the engine, from which the sparks that set fire to the stack in question flew, was used at the time in the ordinary manner, and for purposes authorised by the act of parliament incorporating the company.-Held,that the facts stated were not sufficient to enable the court to infer negligence on the part of the defendants, so as to justify the directing of the entry of a verdict for the plaintiff; but that they did not shew such an absence of negligence as to warrant the directing of the entry of a nonsuit ; and the special case was withdrawn in order that the parties might go on to trial.
Tindal CJ said: ‘It is contended on the part of the defendants, that the plaintiff should be nonsuited; but I am not prepared to say that the fact of the engine emitting sparks may not amount to negligence. On the other hand I cannot say that a verdict ought to be entered for the plaintiff. I think that the special case should be withdrawn, and that the parties should go on to trial. To entitle the plaintiff to recover, he must either shew some carelessness by the defendants, or lay facts before the jury from which it may be inferred.’
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Stannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) -v- Gore CA (Bailii, [2012] EWCA Civ 1248, [2013] Env LR 10, [2012] WLR(D) 266, [2012] 42 EG 133, [2013] 1 All ER 694)
    The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .

Filliter v Phippard; 9 Dec 1847

References: [1847] EngR 999, (1847) 11 QB 347, (1847) 116 ER 506
Links: Commonlii
Coram: Lord Denman CJ
Lord Denman CJ considered a 1707 Act restricting liability for fire damage: ‘The Act contemplates the probability of fires in cities and towns arising from three causes, the want of water, the imperfection of party walls, and the negligence of servants. The Act provided some means for supplying these material defects: but the third section was directed against the moral one, the carelessness or negligence of servants, which (it observes) often causes fires: and it imposes on the servant by whose negligence the fire may have been occasioned a fine of 100l., to be distributed among the sufferers at the discretion of the churchwardens, or imprisonment for eighteen months in case of nonpayment. . . The most usual cause of fires was assumed to be the negligence of servants: and the enactment might operate to induce habits of caution in that important class. The same statute, in the sixth section, enacts that, after a day named, no action shall be maintained against any person in whose house or chamber any fire shall accidentally begin, nor shall any recompence be made by such person for any damage suffered or occasioned thereby.’
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Stannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) -v- Gore CA (Bailii, [2012] EWCA Civ 1248, [2013] Env LR 10, [2012] WLR(D) 266, [2012] 42 EG 133, [2013] 1 All ER 694)
    The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .
  • Cited – Musgrove -v- Pandelis CA ([1919] 2 KB 43)
    The plaintiff ((M) rented first floor rooms above the defendant’s garage. The defendant’s employee spilt petrol which was lit, and negligently failed to control it causing a fire, damaging the plaintiff’s rooms.
    Held: The Act did not provide a . .

Burnie Port Authority v General Jones Property Ltd; HCA 1994

References: [1994] 120 ALR 42, (1994) 179 CLR 520
Coram: Mason CJ
(High Court of Australia) The court treated the rule in Rylands v Fletcher as absorbed by the principles of ordinary negligence. The majority were influenced by the difficulties of interpretation and application to which the rule had given rise, the progressive weakening of the rule by judicial decision, by recognition that the law of negligence had been very greatly developed and expanded since Rylands v Fletcher was decided and by a belief that most claimants entitled to succeed under the rule would succeed in a claim for negligence anyway: ‘Where a duty of care arises under the ordinary law of negligence, the standard of care exacted is that which is reasonable in the circumstances. It has been emphasised in many cases that the degree of care under that standard necessarily varies with the risk involved and that the risk involved includes both the magnitude of the risk of an accident happening and the seriousness of the potential damage if an accident should occur . . even where a dangerous substance or dangerous activity of a kind which might attract the rule in Rylands v Fletcher is involved, the standard of care remains ‘that which is reasonable in the circumstances, that which a reasonably prudent man would exercise in the circumstances’: Adelaide Chemical & Fertiliser Co Ltd v Carlyle [1940] 64CLR514 at page 523. In the case of such substances or activities, however, a reasonably prudent person would exercise a higher degree of care. Indeed, depending upon the magnitude of the danger, the standard of ‘reasonable care’ may involve ‘a degree of diligence so stringent as to amount practically to a guarantee of safety”
This case cites:

  • Explained – Rylands -v- Fletcher HL ((1868) LR 3 HL 330, Bailii, [1868] UKHL 1)
    The defendant had constructed a reservoir to supply water to his mill. Water escaped into nearby disused mineshafts, and in turn flooded the plaintiff’s mine. The defendant appealed a finding that he was liable in damages.
    Held: The defendant . .

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Transco plc -v- Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL (House of Lords, [2003] UKHL 61, Bailii, Times 20-Nov-03, [2004] 1 ALL ER 589, 91 Con LR 28, [2004] 2 AC 1, [2004] Env LR 24, [2004] 1 P & CR DG12, [2003] 3 WLR 1467, [2003] 48 EGCS 127, [2003] NPC 143)
    The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
    Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
  • Cited – LMS International Ltd and others -v- Styrene Packaging and Insulation Ltd and others TCC (Bailii, [2005] EWHC 2065 (TCC))
    The claimants sought damages after their premises were destroyed when a fire started in the defendants neighbouring premises which contained substantial volumes of styrofoam. They alleged this was an unnatural use of the land.
    Held: To . .
  • Cited – Stannard (T/A Wyvern Tyres) -v- Gore CA (Bailii, [2012] EWCA Civ 1248, [2013] Env LR 10, [2012] WLR(D) 266, [2012] 42 EG 133, [2013] 1 All ER 694)
    The defendant, now appellant, ran a business involving the storage of tyres. The claimant neighbour’s own business next door was severely damaged in a fire of the tyres escaping onto his property. The court had found him liable in strict liability . .

National Coal Board v Thorne; 2 Jan 1976

References: [1976] 1 WLR 543
Coram: Watkins J
Complaint was made as to the failure to repair a property, and the duty to abate the resulting nuisance. Watkins J said: ‘Speaking for myself I would adopt the words of Lord Wilberforce so as to state that a nuisance cannot arise if what has taken place affects only the person or persons occupying the premises where the nuisance is said to have taken place. A nuisance coming within the meaning of the Public Health Act 1976 must be either private or public nuisance as understood by common law.’
Statutes: Public Health Act 1936
This case cites:

  • Cited – Salford City Council -v- McNally HL ([1976] AC 379)
    The House considered the interaction of the 1936 and 1957 Acts as to the distinction between the questions of injury to health and fitness for human habitation: ‘It was not a defence to establish that the house, the subject of the complaint, was . .

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Cunningham -v- Birmingham City Council Admn (Times 09-Jun-97, Bailii, [1997] EWHC Admin 440)
    The council appealed against the finding that the complainant’s premises occupied under a tenancy of the council, constituted a statutory nuisance which they had a duty to abate. The claimant’s son was disabled and his condition involved behavioural . .

Bank of New Zealand v Greenwood; 14 Dec 1983

References: [1984] 1 NZLR 525
Coram: Hardie Boys J
High Court – New Zealand. The glass roof of a verandah which deflected the sun’s rays so that a dazzling glare was thrown on to neighbouring buildings was held, prima facie, to create a nuisance. Hardie Boys J said: ‘To the extent that this is an appeal to set the public interest ahead of the private interests of the plaintiffs, then I regret that authority requires me to close my ears to it’
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Hunter and Others -v- Canary Wharf Ltd HL (Gazette 14-May-97, Times 25-Apr-97, Bailii, [1997] UKHL 14, [1997] AC 655, [1997] Fam Law 601, [1997] 2 All ER 426, [1997] 2 FLR 342, [1997] 2 WLR 684, [1997] Env LR 488, [1997] 54 Con LR 12, [1997] 84 BLR 1, [1997] CLC 1045, (1998) 30 HLR 409)
    The claimant, in a representative action complained that the works involved in the erection of the Canary Wharf tower constituted a nuisance in that the works created substantial clouds of dust and the building blocked her TV signals, so as to limit . .
  • Cited – Coventry and Others -v- Lawrence and Another SC (Bailii, [2014] UKSC 13, [2014] 2 P &CR 2, [2014] 2 All ER 622, [2014] BLR 271, [2014] HLR 21, [2014] Env LR 25, [2014] 1 AC 822, 152 Con LR 1, [2014] 2 WLR 433, [2014] PTSR 384, Bailii Summary, UKSC 2012/0076, SC Summary, SC)
    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 . .

Bamford v Turnley; 2 Jul 1862

References: [1862] LR 3 B&S 62, [1862] EWHC Exch J63, [1862] EngR 907, (1862) 3 B & S 66, (1862) 122 ER 27
Links: Bailii, Commonlii
Coram: Bramwell B, Pollock CB
The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment of his own land.
Pollock CB said: ‘I do not think that the nuisance for which an action will lie is capable of any legal definition which will be applicable to all cases and useful in deciding them. The question so entirely depends on the surrounding circumstances, the place where, the time when, the alleged nuisance, what the mode of committing it, how, and the duration of it, whether temporary or permanent, occasional or continual, as to make it impossible to lay down any rule of law applicable to every case & which will also be useful in assisting a jury to come to a satisfactory conclusion, it must at all times be a question of fact with reference to all the circumstances of the case.’ A landowner will not be liable in nuisance for the consequences of what would be recognised as a natural use of his land by him, unless the quality or extent of that use by him was unreasonable: ‘ . . those acts necessary for the common and ordinary use and occupation of land and houses may be done, if conveniently done, without subjecting those who do them to an action.’
This case cites:

  • See Also – Bamford -v- Turnley ([1860] EngR 10, Commonlii, (1860) 2 F & F 231, (1860) 175 ER 1037)
    Brick-kilns near a dwelling-house, purchased with notice, held, no nuisance, and, on a count for keeping ash heaps in the process of brick-making, plaintiff held entitled only to nominal damage. . .
  • See Also – Bamford -v- Turnley ([1860] EngR 1082, Commonlii, (1860) 3 B & S 62, (1860) 122 ER 25)
    An action lies for a nuisance to the house or land of a person, whenever, taking all the circumstances into consideration, including the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s enjoyment before the act complained of, the annoyance is sufficiently great . .

This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Transco plc -v- Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council HL (House of Lords, [2003] UKHL 61, Bailii, Times 20-Nov-03, [2004] 1 ALL ER 589, 91 Con LR 28, [2004] 2 AC 1, [2004] Env LR 24, [2004] 1 P & CR DG12, [2003] 3 WLR 1467, [2003] 48 EGCS 127, [2003] NPC 143)
    The claimant laid a large gas main through an embankment. A large water supply pipe nearby broke, and very substantial volumes of water escaped, causing the embankment to slip, and the gas main to fracture.
    Held: The rule in Rylands v Fletcher . .
  • Cited – Arscott and others -v- Coal Authority and Another CA (Bailii, [2004] EWCA Civ 892, [2005] Env LR6)
    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 . .
  • Cited – Cambridge Water Company -v- Eastern Counties Leather Plc HL (Times 10-Dec-93, Gazette 16-Mar-94, Independent 10-Dec-93, lip, (1994) 1 All ER 53, [1994] 2 WLR 53, [1994] 2 AC 264, Bailii, [1993] UKHL 12)
    The plaintiffs sought damages and an injunction after the defendant company allowed chlorinated chemicals into the plaintiff’s borehole which made unfit the water the plaintiff itself supplied.
    Held: The appeal was allowed. Liability under . .
  • Cited – Anthony and others -v- The Coal Authority QBD (Bailii, [2005] EWHC 1654 (QB))
    The claimants lived adjacent to an old coal tip, which caught fire spontaneously and burned for three years. They claimed in nuisance. The defendant argued that the risk of spontaneous ombustion was not reasonable, and that the use was safe.
  • Cited – Southwark London Borough Council -v- Mills/Tanner; Baxter -v- Camden London Borough Council HL (Times 22-Oct-99, Gazette 10-Nov-99, Gazette 03-Nov-99, House of Lords, Bailii, [1999] 4 All ER 449, [2001] 1 AC 1, [1999] UKHL 40, [1999] 3 WLR 939, [1999] 3 EGLR 35, [2000] 32 HLR 148, [1999] 45 EG 179, (2000) 79 P & CR D13, [1999] EGCS 122, [2000] Env LR 112, [1999] NPC 123, [2000] L & TR 159, [2000] BLGR 138)
    Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
    Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .
  • Cited – Woodland -v- Essex County Council SC (Bailii, [2013] UKSC 66, WLRD, [2013] 3 WLR 1227, [2013] WLR(D) 403, Bailii Summary, UKSC 2012/0093, SC Summary, SC)
    The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .
  • Cited – Coventry and Others -v- Lawrence and Another SC (Bailii, [2014] UKSC 13, [2014] 2 P &CR 2, [2014] 2 All ER 622, [2014] BLR 271, [2014] HLR 21, [2014] Env LR 25, [2014] 1 AC 822, 152 Con LR 1, [2014] 2 WLR 433, [2014] PTSR 384, Bailii Summary, UKSC 2012/0076, SC Summary, SC)
    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 . .

Bamford v Turnley; 5 Nov 1860

References: [1860] EngR 1082, (1860) 3 B & S 62, (1860) 122 ER 25
Links: Commonlii
Coram: Erle CJ, Williams and Keating JJ, Bramwell and Wilde BB
An action lies for a nuisance to the house or land of a person, whenever, taking all the circumstances into consideration, including the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s enjoyment before the act complained of, the annoyance is sufficiently great to amount to a nuisance according to the ordinary rule of law; and this whatever he locality may be where he act is done; and where, on trial of such an action, it appears that the act complained of was done on the land of the defendant, the jury cannot properly be asked whether the causing of the nuisance was a reasonable use by the defendant of his own land.
Bramwell B said: ‘There must be, then, some principle on which such cases must be excepted. It seems to me that that principle may be deduced from the character of these cases, and is this, viz: that those acts necessary for the common and ordinary use and occupation of land and houses may be done, if conveniently done, without subjecting those who do them to an action . . There is an obvious necessity for such a principle as I have mentioned. It is as much for the advantage of one owner as of another; for the very nuisance the one complains of, as the result of the ordinary use of his neighbour’s land, he himself will create in the ordinary use of his own, and the reciprocal nuisances are of a comparatively trifling character. The convenience of such a rule may be indicated by calling it a rule of give and take, live and let live.’
This case cites:

  • See Also – Bamford -v- Turnley ([1860] EngR 10, Commonlii, (1860) 2 F & F 231, (1860) 175 ER 1037)
    Brick-kilns near a dwelling-house, purchased with notice, held, no nuisance, and, on a count for keeping ash heaps in the process of brick-making, plaintiff held entitled only to nominal damage. . .

This case is cited by:

  • See Also – Bamford -v- Turnley ([1862] LR 3 B&S 62, Bailii, [1862] EWHC Exch J63, [1862] EngR 907, Commonlii, (1862) 3 B & S 66, (1862) 122 ER 27)
    The defendant burned bricks on his land, causing a nuisance to his neighbours.
    Held: It was no answer to an action for damages that he selected a proper place within his land for an activity which would interfere with a neighbour’s enjoyment . .
  • Cited – Southwark London Borough Council -v- Mills/Tanner; Baxter -v- Camden London Borough Council HL (Times 22-Oct-99, Gazette 10-Nov-99, Gazette 03-Nov-99, House of Lords, Bailii, [1999] 4 All ER 449, [2001] 1 AC 1, [1999] UKHL 40, [1999] 3 WLR 939, [1999] 3 EGLR 35, [2000] 32 HLR 148, [1999] 45 EG 179, (2000) 79 P & CR D13, [1999] EGCS 122, [2000] Env LR 112, [1999] NPC 123, [2000] L & TR 159, [2000] BLGR 138)
    Tenants of council flats with ineffective sound insulation argued that the landlord council was in breach of the covenant for quiet enjoyment in their tenancy agreements.
    Held: A landlord’s duty to allow quiet enjoyment does not extend to a . .
  • Cited – Woodland -v- Essex County Council SC (Bailii, [2013] UKSC 66, WLRD, [2013] 3 WLR 1227, [2013] WLR(D) 403, Bailii Summary, UKSC 2012/0093, SC Summary, SC)
    The claimant had been seriously injured in an accident during a swimming lesson. She sought to claim against the local authority, and now appealed against a finding that it was not responsible, having contracted out the provision of swimming . .

Whitehouse v Fellowes; 12 Feb 1861

References: (1861) 10 CB (NS) 765, [1861] EngR 314, (1861) 10 CB NS 765, (1861) 142 ER 654
Links: Commonlii
Coram: Williams J, Byles J
The trustees of a turnpike road converted an open ditch by the side of the road into a covered drain but did so negligently, and the catch pits were constructed and kept, so that the drain was at times of heavy rain insufficient to carry off the water to its accustomed channel and was diverted onto other land causing damage. The issue was whether time began to run against a plaintiff from the date of the original construction of the works.
Held:’the continuance by the defendants of that negligent and improper condition of the road under their charge, if accompanied by fresh damage to the plaintiff, constitutes a new cause of action’. And ‘Suppose an action to have been commenced immediately after the first injury accrued to the plaintiff’s pits from the flow of water down the road in question: when that cause came to be tried, the only question would be how much damage the plaintiff had actually sustained. It would be monstrous injustice to hold that the damages must be assessed upon that assumption. All that the jury could do would be to find what damages the plaintiff had sustained from the wrongful act complained of: and they would be told to give him such damages as they might find he has sustained down to the time of the commencement of the action. According to the assumption, the plaintiff has sustained damage from the wrongful construction of the nuisance. Did the statute intend that he should have no remedy for that? The true answer to this objection, as it seems to me, is, that no fresh cause of action arises from each fresh damage, but that, where there is not only a fresh damage but a continuance of the cause of damage, such continuance of the wrongful act which caused the damage constitutes a fresh cause of action.’
Byles J said: ‘There would be a new and distinct injury every time a storm came; and this declaration is in form a declaration for a continuation of a nuisance.’
Keating J stated:
‘Here is a continuation of the nuisance, and a new distinct and complete cause of action in respect thereof, for which I think the plaintiff had a right to sue.’

Lambourn v London Brick Co Ltd; 28 Jul 1950

References: [1950] EG 28 July 1950
Finnemore J stated that an unreasonable burden must not be placed on the reasonable owner: ‘the standard to be taken should be that of an ordinary landowner and not an expert. It was neither the duty nor the practice of the ordinary prudent landowner to make a meticulous examination of its individual trees.’
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd -v- Hind and Another TCC (Bailii, [2014] EWHC 1891 (TCC))
    A train crash was caused when an ash tree fell from the defendant’s land across the railway line. The company sought damages from the land-owner.
    Held: The land-owner’s duty extended no further than the carrying out of periodic informal or . .

Tipping v The St Helens Smelting Company (Limited); 26 Nov 1864

References: [1864] EngR 809 (B), (1864) 4 B & S 616
Links: Commonlii
This case cites:

This case is cited by:

  • See Also – St Helen’s Smelting Co -v- Tipping HL ([1865] 11 HL Cas 642, Bailii, [1865] UKHL J81, 11 ER 1483)
    The defendant built a factory, from which the escaping chemical fumes damaged local trees.
    Held: The defendant was liable even though the smelting was an ordinary business carried on properly, and even though the district surrounding was . .

Tipping v The St Helen’s Smelting Company (Limited); 26 Nov 1864

References: [1864] EngR 808 (A), (1864) 4 B & S 616
Links: Commonlii
This case cites:

This case is cited by:

  • See Also – St Helen’s Smelting Co -v- Tipping HL ([1865] 11 HL Cas 642, Bailii, [1865] UKHL J81, 11 ER 1483)
    The defendant built a factory, from which the escaping chemical fumes damaged local trees.
    Held: The defendant was liable even though the smelting was an ordinary business carried on properly, and even though the district surrounding was . .

Bliss v Hall; 17 Jan 1838

References: , [1838] EngR 346, (1838) 4 Bing NC 183, (1838) 132 ER 758
Links: Commonlii
Coram: Tindal CJ
To an action of nuisance for carrying on the business of a tallow chandler, in a messuage adjoining the messuage of the Plaintiff, it is no plea that the Defendant was possessed of his messuage, and the business was carried on, before the Plaintiff became possessed of and occupied the adjoining messuage. However, a right to emit ‘noxious vapours and smells’ might be acquired by prescription
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Coventry and Others -v- Lawrence and Another SC (Bailii, [2014] UKSC 13, [2014] 2 P &CR 2, [2014] 2 All ER 622, [2014] BLR 271, [2014] HLR 21, [2014] Env LR 25, [2014] 1 AC 822, 152 Con LR 1, [2014] 2 WLR 433, [2014] PTSR 384, Bailii Summary, UKSC 2012/0076, SC Summary, SC)
    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 . .

The Earl of Lonsdale v Nelson And Others; 14 Nov 1823

References: [1823] EngR 745, (1823) 2 B & C 302, (1823) 107 ER 396
Links: Commonlii
Coram: Best J
Trespass for breaking and entering the plaintiff’s manor. Pleas, first, general issue; second, that from time immemorial there hath been and still is a public port partfy within the said manor, and also in a river which has been a public navigable river from time immemorial, and that there is in that part of the port which is within the manor, an ancient work necessary for the preservation of the port, and for the safety and convenience of the ships resorting to it ; that this work was, at the several times when, &c. in decay; that plaintiff would not repair it, but neglected so to do, wherefore defendants entered and repaired. Replication, de injuria. Verdict for plaintiff on first plea, and for defendants on the second: Held, that plaintiff was entitled to judgment non obstante veredicto, as the second plea did not state that immediate repairs were necessary, or that any one bound to do so had neglected to repair after notice, or that a reasonable time for repairing had elapsed, or that defendants had occasion to use the port.
Best J said: ‘Nuisances by an act of commission are committed in defiance of those whom such nuisances injure, and the injured party may abate them without notice to the person who committed them, but there is no decided case which sanctions the abatement by an individual of nuisances from omission, except that of cutting the branches of trees which overhang a public road or the private property of the person who cuts them.’
. . And: ‘The security of lives and property may sometimes require so speedy a remedy as not to allow time to call on the person in whose property the mischief has arisen, to remedy it. In such cases an individual would be justified in abating a nuisance from omission without notice. In all other cases of such nuisances, persons should not take the law into their own hands, but follow the advice of Lord Hale, and appeal to a court of justice.’
This case is cited by:

  • Cited – Lemmon -v- Webb HL ([1895] AC 1, Bailii, [1894] UKHL 1)
    A land-owner was free to lop off boughs from his neighbours trees to the extent that they reached over his land, and he could lop them without going on to the land. He was not required to give notice of his intention to do so. . .
  • Cited – Lagan Navigation Co -v- Lambeg Bleaching, Dyeing and Finishing Co Ltd HL ([1927] AC 226)
    Lord Atkinson stated: ‘It has been well said that the abatement of a nuisance is a remedy which the law does not favour and is not usually advisable, and that its exercise destroys any right of action in respect of the nuisance.’
    Concluding, . .