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Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd

[2004] 1 All ER 135

Case summary last updated at 19/01/2020 16:53 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd

A sewer operated by D kept overflowing due to overuse and flooding P’s home. D tried to claim nuisance but HL rejected it since there was a statutory scheme to deal with problems and an independent regulator with powers of enforcement, whose decisions were subject to judicial review. The statutory scheme was better suited to the needs of balancing the interests of the individual and the public (who would have to endure the cost of building another sewer in this case) and that for the courts to undermine the regulator by assuming his functions would be to contradict parliament’s intentions. Therefore there could be no claim under
Lord Nicholls: No claim in private law of nuisance as this would contradict the statutory scheme. As for article 8, the statutory scheme, which uses a points system for assessing when to perform more works, is convention compliant and strikes a fair balance between the individual and public interest. Therefore the claim under the HRA fails too. 

Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd crops up in following areas of law