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Coventry v Lawrence (No 1) [2014] UKSC 13

By Oxbridge Law TeamUpdated 07/01/2024 19:52

Judgement for the case Coventry v Lawrence (No 1)


  • To establish liability for a nuisance, the landlords must either grant explicit permission by leasing the property or actively engage in the direct perpetration of the nuisance.

  • There is no doubt that the landlords cannot be held accountable for authorising the nuisance based on the argument that it was an inevitable or highly probable outcome of leasing the Stadium and Track to the respondent tenants.

  • The landlords were aware of the intended purposes of the Stadium and Track at the time of the lease agreements, and although these purposes have indeed led to nuisance, such knowledge alone does not establish liability for the landlords due to the act of leasing. It is evident that those purposes could have been pursued and continue to be pursued without causing any nuisance to the appellants.


  • Planning permission was granted in February 1975 for the construction of a stadium in Suffolk for speedway racing and associated facilities. The permission was renewed on a permanent basis in 1985, allowing the stadium to continue its operations.

  • Stock car and banger racing started at the stadium in 1984, and a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development was obtained after ten years. The stadium also had a motocross track at the rear, which had temporary planning permission that was later renewed permanently.

  • In January 2006, the appellants moved into a residential property near the stadium and track. In 2008, they filed a lawsuit against the operators of the stadium and track, alleging that the activities caused a noise nuisance.


  • The court's decision emphasised the importance of striking a balance between the rights of the appellants to enjoy their property without unreasonable interference and the rights of the Stadium and Track operators to conduct their activities.

  • It recognized that certain uses of the Stadium and Track could potentially be carried out without causing a nuisance, suggesting that modifications or precautions could be implemented to mitigate the disturbance caused to the appellants.

Lord Mance

  • Argued that the existence of a pre-existing nuisance cannot simply be accepted as an inherent characteristic of the locality. This perspective challenges the notion that certain nuisances are considered acceptable or inevitable due to their longstanding presence in a particular area.

  • By emphasising that the character of a locality should not be predetermined by existing nuisances, Lord Mance calls for a more nuanced approach to evaluating the impact of ongoing disturbances on affected residents.

  • This approach aligns with the principle that individuals should be entitled to a reasonable quality of life and enjoyment of their property, regardless of the historical presence of nuisances.

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Tort Law Notes
1,070 total pages
843 purchased

Tort Law notes fully updated for recent exams at Oxford and Cambridge. ...