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GDL Law Notes GDL Tort Law Notes

Public Nuisances Notes

Updated Public Nuisances 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:

Public nuisances: ‘acts or omissions of the defendant that materially affect the reasonable comfort and convenience of life of a class of Her Majesty’s subjects’ (Attorney General v PYA Quarries)

  • More specific definition difficult – Denning: public nuisance ‘ covers a multitude of sins, great and small’ (Southport Corporation v Esso Petroleum)

  • Public nuisance is a crime but can also sometimes be a tort

  • Most areas now regulated by statute – e.g. s79 Environmental Protection Act 1990

    • Obstruction of Her Majesty’s Highway (most common)– now regulated by highways legislation

‘Materially affects comfort and convenience’

  • Interference must be ‘material’ – more than just slight/trivial

  • No need for actual damage – annoyance/irritation can be sufficient

  • Claimants must show that they have suffered special damage

Class of Her Majesty’s subjects’

  • Necessary to show that the effect of the nuisance is ‘sufficiently widespread’: no exact number of people that need to be affected

  • Depends on the facts of the case: Attorney General v Hastings Corporation - R v Rimmington


  • Liability can exist for omissions as well as acts – so could be preferable to sue for this rather than negligence

One-off event

  • CAN be a one-off or isolated event (unlike private)

Need not involve interference with the enjoyment of the land: unlike private nuisance the claimant doesn’t need to have an interest in land


  • Attorney General of Ontario v Orange – A pop festival

  • Rose v Miles – Blocking a canal

  • Thomas v NUM – Picketing on a Highway

  • Castle v St Augustine’s Link – Golf balls being hit onto the highway

  • R v Shorrock – An “acid house” party

    • local police received approximately 275 telephone complaints’ – some from 4 miles away

  • Wandsworth LBC v Railtrack plc – pigeons roosting under a bridge amounted to public nuisance

  • Corby v Corby District Council: carrying waste in uncovered vehicles - higher number of average birth defects in the local population where council allowed lorries to carry uncovered waste

Who can Sue?

An individual:

  • Only in very limited circumstances: must show that he has suffered damage over and above the rest of his class (“special damage”)

    • Lyons & Sons Co. v Gulliver

    • Dymond v Pearce

    • Castle v St. Augustine’s Links Golf Club

    • Still necessary for wide class to be affected

  • Distinction from private nuisance and Rylands v Fletcher need not have an interest in land

    • Tate and Lyle v GLC C was able to recover cost of dredging the river approach to a jetty it used which had silted up because the D built a new ferry terminal (didn’t own river)

    • Campbell v Paddington Corporation – stand for coronation parade

Local Authority: May sue on its own behalf...

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