Trespass to land and nuisance


What is 'trespass to land' under tort law?
From a site called ‘Videojug’, hear a lawyer describe what trespass to land is (though take care as this is US-based)

How far down can a trespass go? This post on the UK Supreme Court blog explains the Star Energy case (see section 18.2.1 of book):
Case Comment: Star Energy Weald Basin Ltd & Or (Respondents) v Bocardo Ltd (Appellant)


What is a 'nuisance' under tort law?
From a site called ‘Videojug’, hear a lawyer describe what a nuisance is (though take care as this is US-based)

The Independent Law Report on Hunter v Canary Wharf [1997]
Law Report: No nuisance caused by Canary Wharf tower

JW Neyers, 'Reconceptualising the Tort of Public Nuisance' 76(1) Cambridge Law Journal See abstract at:

S Steel, ‘The Locality Principle In Private Nuisance’ 76(1) Cambridge Law Journal (March 2017), pp. 145-167
See abstract at:

Noise nuisance is a common problem and many councils across the UK have sections on their websites detailing how citizens can deal with these problems (and many warn against taking legal action!). In addition – interestingly, considering its remit – DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has a large section dedicated to noise issues on its website, including a smaller section on ‘neighbourhood noise’ and a downloadable booklet about how to deal with this:

There is also a charity – Noise Concern – set up to help people with neighbourhood noise problems:

We give a hypothetical example (see section 18.3.1) about music “played loudly between the hours of 2 am and 4 am every morning” and ask whether this might become a nuisance. In one sense we may be right: ‘Helen Stephens of Stockton on Tees was sentenced to a week in prison for what was described in court as the ‘psychological torture’ of repeatedly playing Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ at maximum volume’! (Vidal, P. 1993. ‘A pain in the ears (anag)’, The Guardian, 8 September, part 2, pp. 2–3, sourced from Bruce Johnson, Dark Side of the Tune: Popular Music and Violence (Ashgate Publishing, 2009) at p 162).

Airport consulting on noise level
News item plus a video clip of airport spokesman commenting on a report detailing that Stansted international airport in Essex is to consult residents about noise in a bid to reduce the nuisance significantly by creating a five-year 'noise reduction plan'.

And noise issues still make headlines from time to time – some examples below, which you may find you can relate to particular cases you have encountered:

Musical transvestite kicked out

Council fear cricket nets noise

Baroness Billingham tries to save cricket club caught up in 'petty' noise row

Nuisance from smells is also relatively common:

Plans for food scraps recycling plant a 'raw deal' for community

Here is a link to an online article written by Jennifer Stephens, discussing Barr v Biffa: [2011] 4 Web JCLI.

But nuisance from a strip-club (sued by a convent) is less so:

SISTERS OF ST. CHARLES and others v GET IT ENTERTAINMENT, LLC and others (2014)
Filed in Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois 6/13/2014, 2014-CH-10001

See story and video ‘Nuns Officially File Lawsuit Against Strip Joint’

And occasionally celebrities are affected too:
‘Couple wins battle over 'excruciating' helicopter noise that put Tess Daly off buying their home’ The Telegraph 17 March 2016

Nuisance and trespass can be closely linked to harassment, as this recent case illustrates:

‘The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Raymond v Young [2015] EWCA Civ 456 concerned the principles to be applied when considering what damages to award to property owners who were the victims of shocking harassment, trespass and nuisance conducted by their neighbours over a period of several years’

And ‘actual’ cases make the news too:

News report on Marcic v Thames Water Authorities:

Following the House of Lords judgment and considering its implications:
Sewage ruling leaves water companies smelling of roses

Awarding damages for transitory nuisance
The Times law report on the Court of Appeal decision in Dobson and Others v Thames Water Utilities Ltd [2009], which upholds the appeal from the first instance decision in part

Lawful noise from speedway track could still be a nuisance to homeowners, Supreme Court rules
Discussing the fact that in Coventry v Lawrence [2014] a couple were awarded an injunction to stop noise from a long-standing speedway track near the home they had bought:

On Coventry [2014] and what it may mean for costs (human rights) and availability of injunctions

UKSC blog, ‘New Judgment: Coventry & Ors v Lawrence & Anor [2014] UKSC 13’ 26 February 2014 (includes video)

David Hart QC ‘Supreme Court brings private nuisance into the 21st century’ UK Human Rights Blog, 3 March 2014

UKSC blog, ‘New Judgment: Coventry & Ors v Lawrence & Anor (No 2) [2014] UKSC 46’ 23 July 2014 (includes video)

Lucy Hayes, ‘Case preview: Coventry & Ors v Lawrence & Anor’ UKSC blog 16 March 2015


David Hart QC, ‘Supreme Court: no-win-no-fee costs regime compatible with Article 6’ UK Human Rights Blog, 22 July 2015

Public Nuisance

What starts as fun can become a public nuisance, as various news stories show, including (though note some of these deal with the criminal side of public nuisance so care should be taken):

A bit of a weird one from the turn of the Millennium: ‘Public Nuisance: Pigeons’ The Law Gazette, 12 September 2000

Tewin Twitter party: Oliver Boorman's 21st birthday went 'off the scale' (5 May 2013) ‘It was supposed to be a 21st birthday to remember, but it quickly spiralled out of control’, says report on birthday party advertised on Twitter, which grew into a public nuisance!

Police lock down illegal rave in Flitwick (10 May 2013)

Remember the naked Brits on Mount Kinabalu in May 2015?

Eleanor Hawkins pleads guilty to public nuisance after being arrested in Malaysia

Flying balls stop village cricket
News film about a modern Miller v Jackson-style case in which a cricket club in Surrey has been served with an injunction order by a resident who has said his house is being damaged by flying cricket balls.

Fayed strikes oil millions from 'secret' oilfield under his estate
News item on first instance decision in Star Energy v Bocardo – useful because of a picture of the ‘affected’ estate of Mohammed Al Fayed


St Helens Smelting Co v Tipping [1865]

Allen v Gulf Oil Refinery Ltd. [1981]

Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd [1997]

Wheeler v JJ Saunders Ltd [1996]

Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd v Morris (t/a Soundstar Studio) [2004]

Hatton v UK [2003]

Kennaway v Thompson [1981]

Hussain and Another v Lancaster City Council [1998]

Marcic v Thames Water Utilities plc [2003]

Dennis v Ministry of Defence [2003]

Watson v Croft Promosport Ltd [2009]

Dobson v Thames Water Utilities Ltd [2009]

Hall & Others v Mayor of London (On Behalf of the Greater London Authority) [2010]

Hirose Electrical UK Ltd v Peak Ingredients Ltd [2011]

Barr & Ors v Biffa Waste Services Ltd [2012]

Coventry & Ors v Lawrence & Anor [2014]

Coventry & Ors v Lawrence & Anor (No 2) [2014]  

Coventry & Ors v Lawrence & Anor [2015]

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