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Nuisance Notes

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A more recent version of these Nuisance Notes notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.

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Public Nuisance

Act/omission which "materially affects the reasonable comfort & convenience of life of a class of Her Majesty's subjects" - Romer LJ in AG v PYA Quarries
? Key: is the number of people affected sufficient to constitute a class? ? question of fact
? Nuisance so widespread or indiscriminate in its effect that it's unreasonable to expect one person to put a stop to it, but instead it should be borne by whole community(AG v PYA Quarries)

C doesn't need to have an interest in any relevant land(Tate & Lyle v GLC)

Main uses a) Obstructing public highways / navigation rights o Tate & Lyle GLC - D's ferry terminals caused silting which obstructed large vessel's access to C's jetty & C had to spend money dredging. Private nuisance failed (jetty itself unaffected and no property right in river bed), but public nuisance succeeded (silt interfered w/public navigation right and C's expenditure was special damage)
? Obstacle on the highway constitutes actionable nuisance only if D did something that was unreasonable in circs? electricity repairs, deliveries not unreasonable, unless very long. b) Objects falling onto highway from adjoining premises
? Liable if know / ought to have known of danger (Wringe v Cohen- D liable when his roof collapsed (owing to a want of repair) and fell onto C's house next door)
? Not liable should damage results from "secret and unobservable operation of nature, such as subsidence or the acts of TP" -Wringe c) Carrying on an offensive trade d) Throwing fireworks about the street e) Holding a rave

Remedies a) Prosecution by AG on behalf of the public [public nuisance is a crime]
b) Private citizens who suffer special damage over & above that suffered by the rest of the public
- E.g. obstruction of public right of navigation causing special damage to the use of C's vessels
- "Particular damage" - pecuniary loss, inconvenience and delay (if appreciably dif in nature or extent to that suffered by general public

Claims for PI are allowed(Corby Group Litigation)

9. Private Nuisance



Recoverable in privatelaw
? Preserve a balance b/w conflicting interests - occupier to use his land &neighbour's quiet enjoyment of his
? Activity/state of affairs causing substantial & unreasonable interference (need assessment of individual circs) w/C's land, use or enjoyment of it
? Not actionable per se (unlike trespass) ? C must first prove damage through tangible/ intangible interference with his use or enjoyment
? Range of activities w/potential to constitute a nuisance

noxious fumes




generation of violent vibrations
? Doesn't include PI (though it did for a while)
? In practical terms, C normally has a choice in which terms to phrase his action - negligence or nuisance (usual remedy in nuisance is injunction while in negligence it's damages) Was there interference a) Encroachment onto neighbour's land b) Direct physical injury to land c) Interference w/quiet enjoyment of land o Found:

Noise - Kennaway v Thompson (motor boat racing)

Smell - Wheeler v JJ Saunders (pig farming)

Emotional distress (brothel in neighbourhood)

Trespassers o Not found:

Blocking a view - Bland (otherwise no towns)

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