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Nuisance by Mind Map: Nuisance

1. Private Nuisance

1.1. Definition: - An unlawful interference with a person’s use of land, or some right over or in connection with it.

1.2. Objectives: - To balance the conflicting interests between neighbours - To decide at what point an interference becomes intolerable

1.3. Types of Interference:

1.3.1. Encroachment onto the plaintiff’s land

1.3.1.1. “entering into someone else’s property”

1.3.1.2. E.g: Overhanging branches from a neighbour’s tree into the plaintiff’s garden

1.3.1.3. Davey v Harrow: The court held the defendant liable for encroachment of land under private nuisance where the roots of trees from the defendant’s property had entered the plaintiff’s adjoining property and caused damage to it.

1.3.2. Physical damage to the plaintiff’s land

1.3.2.1. Where the plaintiff suffered actual damage to the property.

1.3.2.2. E.g: A renovation causes cracks to appear on the plaintiff’s property; water overflow from the defendant’s property causes damage to the plaintiff’s house.

1.3.2.3. Hotel Continental SB v Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion SB: The court granted an injunction even though the piling works to the defendant’s hotel were temporary as it had caused cracks to appear on the plaintiff’s heritage building.

1.3.3. Interference with the plaintiff’s comfort and convenience (amenity nuisance)

1.3.3.1. Where the plaintiff does not suffer any physical damage to his property, but feels discomfort.

1.3.3.2. Where he is unable to live peacefully on his land as a result of the defendant’s activity.

1.3.3.3. Where the defendant’s activity becomes intolerable.

1.3.3.4. E.g: Continuous noise, foul smell, fumes, dirt, dust.

1.3.3.5. Bone v Seal:The court held the defendant liable as foul smell coming from a pig farm for 12 years was a nuisance.

1.3.3.6. Tetley v Chitty: The court held the defendant liable as noise coming from a go-cart track which could be heard in the plaintiff’s house was a nuisance

1.4. Elements:

1.4.1. 1. There must be a substantial interference

1.4.1.1. The plaintiff must have suffered damage.

1.4.1.2. Hotel Continental SB v Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion SB: The court granted an injunction even though the piling work to the defendant’s hotel was temporary as it had caused substantial interference, which was the appearance of cracks, on the plaintiff’s heritage building.

1.4.2. 2. Unreasonableness

1.4.2.1. Rule: The interference must be unreasonable before it can be considered unlawful.

1.4.2.2. TEST of reasonableness:

1.4.2.3. According to Buckley J in Saunders-Clark v Grosvenor Mansions Co Ltd, “The court must consider whether the defendant is using the property reasonably or not. If he is using it reasonably, there is nothing which at law can be considered a nuisance, but if he is not using it reasonably then the plaintiff is entitled to relief.”

1.4.2.4. Factors determining reasonableness:

1.4.2.4.1. 1. Locality

1.4.2.4.2. 2. Seriousness of the interference

1.4.2.4.3. 3. Duration of the interference

1.4.2.4.4. 4. Hypersensitivity

1.4.2.4.5. 5. Malice

1.5. Who can sue in private nuisance?

1.5.1. In order to bring an action in private nuisance, the plaintiff must have an interest in the property affected.

1.5.2. Plaintiff must have a connection to the property.

1.5.3. E.g: Has title, ownership or is an occupier of the land.

1.5.4. Where a house is jointly owned, both have title to the property.

1.5.5. This excludes those without interest, thus a person cannot sue without an interest in the land.

1.5.6. E.g: Hotel guests, licensees, a wife, children etc.

1.5.7. Malone v Laskey: The court denied the plaintiff her remedy for the injury that she suffered arising from the defendant’s construction site as she did not have any interest in the property.

1.6. Who can be sued in private nuisance?

1.6.1. The person responsible for creating the nuisance, the occupier or the landlord.

2. Public Nuisance

2.1. Definition: - From the case AG v PYA Quarries: “It is an unlawful act which endangers the lives, health or comfort of the public or a substantial section thereof.”

2.2. Categories: 1. Cases which satisfy the requirement of private nuisance but affect a much larger number of people (more than one person). 2. Cases which involve interference with safety or convenience of members of the public, but do not satisfy the basic requirements for an action in private nuisance.

2.3. Elements:

2.3.1. 1. Must show that the person affected by nuisance constituted the public or a section of the public.

2.3.1.1. AG v PYA Quarries: The court granted an injunction and held that a few houses affected by the dust and vibration from the defendant’s quarry activities were enough to constitute the public as there was a sufficiently wide impact.

2.3.1.2. Lord Denning: There is no specific number to amount to a public. If the activity affects a representative cross-section of the society, it is enough to be a public.

2.3.2. 2. The plaintiff must show special damage.

2.3.2.1. The damage is a direct and substantial loss beyond that suffered by the general public.

2.3.2.2. The type or extent of damage is more serious than what is suffered by other persons exposed to the same interference.

2.3.2.3. E.g: Personal injury, damage to property.

2.3.2.4. Rose v Miles: The court held the defendant liable for blocking the river with his boat as the loss of time, money and addition transport cost was sufficient special damage to support the plaintiff’s claim.

3. Defences

3.1. 1. Rebuttal

3.1.1. Where the defendant counter-argues and contends that his activity is reasonable.

3.2. 2. Statutory authority (For both, private and public nuisance)

3.2.1. Where there is a statute which allows the defendant to conduct the activity.

3.2.2. Allen v Gulf Oil Refining: The court held that the defendant had a defence of statutory immunity where a statute authorised the defendant to carry out oil refinement work even though the plaintiff complained of the noise, smell and vibration.

3.3. 3. Act of nature

3.3.1. Where events occur out of the control of defendant and without any human intervention

3.3.2. E.g: Heavy rainfall, earthquakes, landslide.

3.4. 4. Consent

3.4.1. - Where the plaintiff had consented to the defendant’s activity.

3.5. Invalid defences

3.5.1. 1. Coming to the nuisance

3.5.1.1. Where the defendant contends that his property had been there first, and it was the plaintiff’s fault for choosing to live there.

3.5.1.2. It is invalid as under the Federal Constitution, the plaintiff has a right to move to wherever he wishes.

3.5.1.3. Thus, the defendant cannot prevent the plaintiff from living there, and the plaintiff has a right to bring an action under private nuisance.

3.5.1.4. However, only an action to minimize the nuisance can be brought against the defendant.

3.5.1.5. E.g: An action to shut the defendant’s factory down cannot be instituted

3.5.2. 2. Public benefit

3.5.2.1. The usefulness of the defendant’s activity.

3.5.2.2. The defendant cannot contend that his activity is not a nuisance because it will benefit the public.

3.5.2.3. Adams v Ursell: The court held that the defence of public benefit was invalid and cannot be raised by the defendant even though the public often ate at his fish and chips shop as the continuous smell of fish was a nuisance.

4. Remedies

4.1. 1. Injunction

4.1.1. court order to the defendant to minimize the nuisance.

4.2. 2. Damages

4.2.1. To compensate for physical damage to the property or personal injury.

4.3. 3. Abatement (Only for private nuisance)

4.3.1. Where the parties take the law into their own hands.

4.3.2. The defendant seeks permission from the plaintiff to remedy the situation.

4.3.3. E.g: The defendant asks for the plaintiff’s permission to cut off the tree.