Tate 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 riparian owners had no right to insist upon any particular water depth. Their rights were limited to the ordinary purposes of a riparian owner, such as taking water. However, the public right of navigation of the Thames had been infringed by the construction of the terminal, creating a public nuisance for which they were liable to the plaintiff. A defence of statutory authority would require the council to show that it had taken all reasonable care in the design of the terminal. It had not done so. Their liability extended also to the second jetty, since the creation of the channel also created a public navigation right over the new channel.


Lord Templeman


[1983] 2 AC 509, [1983] UKHL 2




England and Wales


AppliedAttorney-General v Thames Conservators 1862
. .
DistinguishedBickett v Morris 1866
. .
DistinguishedLyon v Fishmongers’ Co HL 1876
Access to the river Thames via the plaintiff’s wharf was obstructed and this was sufficient to give rise to a successful action in private nuisance.
A riparian owner has a private law right to gain access to its frontage by boat.
DistinguishedBooth v Ratte 1890
. .
AppliedDonoghue (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 . .
AppliedDorset Yacht Co Ltd v Home Office HL 6-May-1970
A yacht was damaged by boys who had escaped from the supervision of prison officers in a nearby Borstal institution. The boat owners sued the Home Office alleging negligence by the prison officers.
Held: Any duty of a borstal officer to use . .
AppliedAnns and Others v Merton London Borough Council HL 12-May-1977
The plaintiff bought her apartment, but discovered later that the foundations were defective. The local authority had supervised the compliance with Building Regulations whilst it was being built, but had failed to spot the fault. The authority . .
AppliedJunior Books v Veitchi Co Ltd HL 15-Jul-1982
The defendant was a specialist sub-contractor brought in to lay a floor. In laying the composition floor the defenders used too wet a mixture and applied too thin a top coat and failed to cure the material properly. As a result cracks began to . .
At First InstanceTate and Lyle Food Distribution Ltd v Greater London Council 1981
Forbes J considered the principles to be applied when considering the award of interest on damages between the date of the loss and the judgment: ‘Despite the way in which Lord Herschell LC in London, Chatham and Dover Railway Co v South Eastern . .

Cited by:

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 . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Land, Nuisance

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.183025