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Public Nuisance Notes

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This is an extract of our Public Nuisance document, which we sell as part of our Tort Law Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford students.

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Public Nuisance The Classic Definition thereof:

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Att Gen v PYA Quarries Ltd [1957]: o Romer LJ:
? Nuisance is public When it materially affects the reasonable convenience and comfort

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Of any class of people
? Not necessary to show that everyone in that class has been affected

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But question for every case =
o Is a local community affected made up of enough people to be a class of the public?
o Denning LJ:
? Hard to quantify what number required in order to make private nuisance public
? Public nuisance = nuisance so widespread in its range

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Or so indiscriminate in its effect o That not reasonable to expect one person to take proceedings to put a stop to it.

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Further attempts: o Corby Group Litigation v Corby Borough Council [2008]: C born with deformities of upper limbs owing to Corby Borough Council buying land nearby and in the course of decontamination exposing nearby mothers carrying embryos. They raised numerous claims, one of which was for public nuisance, which D alleged could not be brought for personal injury and D asked to strike it out
? Dyson LJ:

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Public nuisance differs from private nuisance o In that it does not always require there to infringement on the enjoyment of your land in public nuisance
? Public nuisance concerns the health, property, morals or comforts of her Majesty's subjects. The need for particular damage

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Can all in the materially affected group sue?
o No, a special condition is imposed: they must show that they have suffered particular damage in excess of that suffered by the public at large (a pragmatic condition).

o So/ direct and substantial harm is required.
? Past cases have recognised: personal injury, property damage, loss of custom, delay

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o o

and inconvenience (but must be quite substantial). What if C cannot show any special damage?
A relator action is provided, e.g. PYA Quarries, but the A-G must feel that it is appropriate to intervene. S 222 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides for a LA bringing acts for the benefit of those in their area.

Application

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Often used for obstructing highway o Highways are not privately owned land, so no private nuisance can apply.
? Some obstructions are inevitable, e.g. parked cars, pedestrians, scaffolding.
? Obstructions become nuisance when they are "unreasonable"

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Dymond v Pearce (1972)

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