TORTS LECTURE 11. NUISANCE. WHAT IS NUISANCE?. An unreasonable conduct that materially interferes with the ordinary comfort of human existence. Our mission for tonight. What do we do about the woman across the road who destroyed my 21 st ?. THE TWO ‘ SIDES ’ OF NUISANCE. NUISANCE.
What do we do about the woman across the road who destroyed my 21st?
Nuisance v Negligence
Nuisance v Trespass
“Inconvenience materially interfering with the ordinary comfort physically of human existence, not merely according to dainty modes and habits of living, but according to plain and sober and simple notions among the English people.”
- Knight Bruce VC in Walter v Selfe (1851)
“Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas” (“Use your own thing so as not to harm that of another”)
“A dweller in towns cannot expect to have as pure air, as free from smoke, smell, and noise as if he lived in the country, and distant from other dwellings, and yet an excess of smoke, smell, and noise may give a cause of action, but in each of such cases it becomes a question of degree, and the question is in each case whether it amounts to a nuisance which will give a right of action.”
- Lord Halsbury in Colls v Home & Colonial Stores 
- Munro v Southern Dairies , Hasley v Esso Petroleum 
"A useful test is perhaps what is reasonable according to the ordinary usages of mankind living in society, or more correctly in a particular society." (per Lord Wright in Sedleigh-Denfield v. O'Callaghan (1940) AC, at p 903 )
D’s conduct must be unreasonable.
“A sulphurous chimney in a residential area is not nuisance because it makes householders cough and splutter but because it prevents them taking their ease in their gardens. It is for this reason that the plaintiff in an action for nuisance must show some title to realty.”
- Newark, The Boundaries of Nuisance (1949)
“If a P, such as the daughter in Khorsandjian, is harassed by abusive telephone calls, the gravamen of the complaint lies in the harassment which is just as much an abuse, or indeed an invasion of her privacy, whether she is pestered in this way in her mother’s house, or even in her car with a mobile phone. In truth, what the CA appears to have been doing was to exploit the law of private nuisance in order to create by the back door a tort of harassment which was only partially effective in that it was artificially limited to harassment which takes place at her home. I myself do not think this is a satisfactory manner in which to develop the law, especially when the step taken was inconsistent with another decision in the CA in Malone”- LORD GOFF
Steve’s own a home at 8 Wombeyan Ct, Wattle Grove. Kit and Carlos live in a house adjoining Steve. Kit and Carlos are really security conscious and have installed floodlights and camera surveillance equipment. The floodlights and surveillance equipment are positioned in a way that they illuminate Steve’s backyard and may record video tape everything that occurs there.
Steve uses his backyard to hang up his clothes, doing his gardening, and sitting and enjoying his radio. He has become distressed since the electronic gear has gone in, and he no longer feels he can enjoy his backyard as he did before. The floodlight system is activated by a sensor, which switches the lights on with movement or noise (such as a movement in Steve’s backyard). When the equipment is activated the lights come on and stay on on for 10 mins, and the camera may be activated. Steve contends that he is suffering realth issues as a result of the continued illumination of his land.
What’s the difference??
“I cannot see that the appellants here can make out a case that they were denied free uninterrupted access to the roadway by the conduct of the respondents in imposing the parking restrictions in question. True, the parking restrictions were in adjajcent streets, but it cannot be said that access to and from the roadway was denied or seriously impaired… As the learned trial judge observed, “The shorter time limit did not materially alter the position.’ The fact that parking was limited to 1hr duration in portions of two streets near the restaurant could not in law constitute an actionable nuisance on he ground that potential customers were prevented from getting to the restaurant (continuing).”
It is difficult to see how the conduct in question of the respondents constituted a nuisance… all the available parking space could have been taken by residents and their visitors at any given point of time.”
- per Helman J
Well? What about my 21st?