Tort of Nuisance

Nuisance - Private Public and Escape of dangerous things

  • Created by: georgina
  • Created on: 19-06-11 20:20


Private Nuisance;

1) An Unreasonable use of land

2) leading to an indirect interference 

3) with the use or enjoyment of land.

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An unreasonable use of land

can consist of many factors:

- Locality - St Helens Smelting Co Tipping

- Duration of interference - Spicer v Smee

- The seriousness of interference - Helsey v Esso Petroleum

- The sensitivity of the claimant - Network Rail Infrastructure v Morris

- Malice shown by either party - Hollywood Silver Fox Farm v Emmet

- The state of the defendants land - Leakey v The National Trust 

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Leading to an indirect interference 

The interference must not be direct; this would otherwise be under the tort of tresspass and not private nuisance

It must be indirect; e.g. fumes

With the use and enjoyment of land

some activities are beyond protection, as in Hunter v Canary Whalf. 

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Planning Permission - Wheeler v Saunders

Statutory Authority - Hammersmith Railway v Brand

Prescription - Sturges v Bridgmen 

Volenti non fit injuria (consent) - Kiddle v City Business Properties

Public Policy - Miller v Jackson 

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May recover for physical loss, for depreciation in value and for business loss.

Common remedy is injunction.

Abatement (going into the defendants land to remove the nuisance) 

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Public Nuisance

Requirements for proving public nuisance 

- substantial class of people affected by the nuisance - Attorney General v PYA Quarries Ltd

- to succeed, a claimant must be able to show special damage - Tate & Lyle industries Ltd v Greater London Council. 

-special damage might include personal injury - Castle v St Augustine Links

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- Most commonly the tort involves use and abuse of the highway, for example a result of queues for which D is responsible - football match or theatre - Lyons v Gulliver

- It can apply to projections over the highway such as clocks, hoarding, signs and artificial structures 

- condition of highway also, particulary as the local authority will usually have a duty to maintain the highway. Griffins v Liverpool Corporation - it was nuisance when a person tripped on a flagstone that was standing up half an inch. 

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Escape of Dangerous Things

1) A bringing onto the land accumulating 

2) of a thing likely to cause mischief if it escapes 

3) which amounts to a non-natural use of the land

4) and which does escape and causes damages. 

First established in the Rylands v Fletcher case, strict liability tort.

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A bringing onto the land accumulating 

-it is possible for there to be an action in nuisance where the defendant is aware of the thing causing the nuisance and in effect done nothing about it - Leakey v The National Trust 

Of which the thing is likely to cause mischief if it escapes

- not the escape that is likely but the mischief - Musgrove v Pandelis 

which amounts to a non natural use of the land 

- fire, electric wiring and domestic use of water are all regarded as natural, what isn't is the size, volume and quantity of it all. - Mason v Levy Auto Parts England 

The thing must actually escape 

- 'an escape from a place where the defendant has occupation or control over land to a place which is outside his occupation or control' - Read v J Lyons 

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Volenti non fit injuria (consent) - no liability if there was consent - Peters v Prince of Wales Theatre

Common benefit - no liability on a defendant when the source of the potential danger is something that is maintained for the benefit of both claimant and defendant - Dunne v North Western Gas Board. 

Act of God - Nichols v Marsland 

Statutory authority - Green v Chelsea Waterworks Co 

Contributory Negligence - where the claimant is partly responsible, then damages may be reduced

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