Thames 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 say that his human rights had been infringed insofar as his right to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions had been infringed. Whilst it would be reasonably possible to prevent flooding of the claimant’s property, protecting all similarly threatened properties would cost impractically large sums.
Held: The test for nuisance and negligence had become similar until the point where a positive act to prevent harm was required rather than acting in such a way as to avoid causing harm. There is a clear common law duty to do whatever is reasonable to prevent hazards on the land, however they might arise, from causing damage to a neighbour. The appellant provided the system of sewers for profit, and had not demonstrated that it was not reasonably practicable for them to abate the nuisance.
Lord Phillips MR, Lord Justice Aldous, And, Lord Justice Ward
Times 14-Feb-2002, Gazette 21-Mar-2002, [2002] EWCA Civ 65, [2002] QB 929, [2002] 2 All ER 55
Water Industry Act 1991 94(1), European Convention on Human Rights 8
England and Wales
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 . .
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 . .
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 . .
Appeal fromMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd TCC 10-Jul-2001
. .
Appeal fromMarcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd TCC 14-May-2001
. .

Cited by:
CitedDennis and Dennis v Ministry of Defence QBD 16-Apr-2003
The applicants owned a substantial property near an airbase. They complained that changes in the patterns of flying by the respondents were a nuisance and sought damages. Walcot Hall was subjected to very high noise levels from military aircraft. . .
CitedAnufrijeva and Another v London Borough of Southwark CA 16-Oct-2003
The various claimants sought damages for established breaches of their human rights involving breaches of statutory duty by way of maladministration. Does the state have a duty to provide support so as to avoid a threat to the family life of the . .
Appeal fromMarcic 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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 25 January 2021; Ref: scu.167598