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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

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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)

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

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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

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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

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Claims for PI are allowed(Corby Group Litigation)

9. Private Nuisance

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1)

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

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noxious fumes

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smoke

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noise

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heat

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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:

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Noise - Kennaway v Thompson (motor boat racing)

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Smell - Wheeler v JJ Saunders (pig farming)

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Emotional distress (brothel in neighbourhood)

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Trespassers o Not found:

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Blocking a view - Bland (otherwise no towns)

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