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GDL Law Notes GDL Tort Law Notes

Private Nuisance Notes

Updated Private Nuisance Notes

GDL Tort Law Notes

GDL Tort Law

Approximately 591 pages

A collection of the best GDL notes the director of Oxbridge Notes (an Oxford law graduate) could find after combing through applications from top students and carefully evaluating each on accuracy, formatting, logical structure, spelling/grammar, conciseness and "wow-factor". In short these are what we believe to be the strongest set of GDL notes available in the UK this year. This collection of GDL notes is fully updated for recent exams, also making them the most up-to-date GDL study materials ...

The following is a more accessible plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our GDL Tort Law Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

  • Introduction

    - Nuisance: unlawful activity that is harmful/noxious + which interfered with another person’s rights, use or enjoyment of their land – Read v J. Lyons [1947].

    - 3 related torts: unreasonable use of d’s land damage/loss to another.

    • 1. private nuisance: most significant.

    • 2. public nuisance: also crime.

    • 3. rule in Rylands v Fletcher.

    - Private nuisance: any continuous activity or state of affairs causing substantial + unreasonable interference with c’s land or c’s use/enjoyment of that land – Bamford v Turnley [1862].

    • not actionable per se: c. must prove damage – actual property damage or sensible personal discomfort.


    Who Can Sue?

    - C. must have proprietary or possessionary legal interest in land – Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd [1997; HoL].

    • rationale: basis of tort is interference of use/enjoyment of land c. must have interest.

    • licence insufficient – Malone v Laskey [1907]: land occupied by tenant’s employee + employee’s wife; wife injured by falling cistern (made loose by d’s activity next door) no right of action (wives: no legal interest in 1907).

      • but blip: Khorasandijan v Bush [1993; CoA]: child allowed to sue (for harassment) overruled by Hunter – now covered by Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

    - Human rights challenge to requirement c. have interest in land.

    • McKenna v British Aluminium [2002]: breach of Art 6 (right to fair trial) + Art 8 (right to respect for family life)?

    • but: Dobson v Thames Water Utilities Ltd [2009; CoA]: Hunter v Canary Wharf confirmed need interest.

      • but solution: if no interest, can bring claim under human rights law directly – Art 8.

    Who Can Be Sued?

    - Creator of nuisance: liable even if not in position to end nuisance / not occupier – Thomas v NUM [1986]: NUM encouraged miners to picket highway liable.

    • but practical difficulties: may be difficult to find.

    - Occupier: liable for nuisances created by self + others (has control over land) usual d. – BUT EXCEPTIONS:

    • 1. independent contractors: unless c. authorises contractor to perform certain tasks + tasks cause reasonably foreseeable/inevitable nuisance – Matania v National Provincial Bank [1936]: building contractors cause excessive noise + dust occupier liable.

      • but N.B.: building work usually NOT nuisance – part of ‘give + take’ of daily life.

    • 2. previous owners: unless c. continued or adopted nuisance.

    • 3. trespassers: unless c. continued or adopted nuisance – Sedleigh-Denfield v Callaghan [1940]; or fails to abate – Page Motors Ltd v Epson and Ewell BC [1982].

      • but: if c. takes reasonable steps to abate no liability.

    • 4. act of nature / natural condition of land: unless d. knew + failed to take reasonable steps to abate – Goldman v Hargrave [1967; PC].

      • Leakey v National Trust [1980]: earth mound accumulated on d’s land + capsized onto c’s land; d. aware + took no steps to prevent d. liable.

      • but: duty to abate subject to means of occupier not expected to bankrupt self – Holbeck Hall Hotel v Scarborough BC [2000]: part of c’s hotel collapsed because of coastal erosion d. not liable: could not afford to prevent erosion, had done reasonable checks.

    - Landlord: generally NOT liable, unless: created/authorised, knew/ought to know, reserved right to enter + repair.

    • Tetley v Chitty [1986]: d. leased to ‘go-kart’ club with full knowledge liable.

    • Southwark LBC v Mills [1999]: noisy council tenants; c. sued council not liable: d. did not deliberately choose noisy tenants.

    - Party in control: Jones Ltd v Portsmouth CC [2002]: d. in charge of land (but did not own) liable.


    - 3 elements to private nuisance:

    • 1. indirect interference: with use/enjoyment of land (cf. trespass: direct interference).

    • 2. damage: physical injury to property or interference with enjoyment.

      • remoteness: reasonable foreseeability test – Cambridge Water Co v Eastern Counties Leather [1994].

    • 3. unlawful interference: i.e. unreasonable – question of ‘give + take’ / ‘live + let live’ – Bamford v Turnley [1862].

      • objective test: reasonable man / sensible person discomfort.

    Indirect Interference

    - Indirect interference with use/enjoyment of c’s land.

    • not direct: trespass – Bernstein v Skyviews [1978].

    • indirect interference: nuisance starts on d’s land, then damage to some aspect of c’s use/enjoyment of his land.

      • e.g. sounds, smells, fumes, vibrations.

      • e.g. flood of water – Sedleigh-Denfield v O’Callaghan [1940].


    - Nuisance not actionable per se: c. must prove damage – 3 types.

    - 1. actual damage to property.

    • Lemon v Webb [1895]: overhanging tree branches damaged c’s land.

    - 2. sensible personal discomfort: anything that discomposes or injuriously affects senses/nerves – St Helen’s Smelting Co v Tipping [1865] – e.g. health, comfort, convenience: noise, smoke, smells etc.

    • St Helen’s Smelting Co v Tipping: fumes from d’s factory physical damage (trees/shrubs) + SPD.

    • Leeman v Montagu [1936]: cockerels crowing excessively d. liable.

    • people can be a nuisance:

      • Laws v Florinplace Ltd [1981]: d. opened sex shop in Pimlico customers a nuisance.

      • Page Motors Ltd v Epsom and Ewell BC [1982]: gypsies trespassing on council land; damaged c’s neighbouring business; d. knew + did not abate nuisance.

      • Lippiatt v South Gloucs CC [1999]: group of travellers on d’s land nuisance.

    • NOT interference with recreational facilities (inc. TV/radio reception):

      • Bland v Moseley [1578]: d. built on land, blocking c’s view not nuisance – view = ‘thing of delight’.

      • Bridlington Relay v Yorks Electricity Board [1965]: d. installed sub-power station, interfered with c’s reception not nuisance.

        • rationale: nothing emanating from d’s land to interfere with c’s land; merely blocking.

      • vs. other jurs: Nor-Video Services Ltd v Ontario Hydro [1978; Can]: blocking reception = nuisance.

      • Hunter & Ors v Canary Wharf Ltd [1997; HoL]: building of Canary Wharf interfered with cs’ reception old position reaffirmed – not nuisance (planning law: better avenue for complaint).

    • N.B. personal injury NOT...

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