Nuisance—establishing a claim for private nuisance
Produced in partnership with Professor Richard A Buckley
Nuisance—establishing a claim for private nuisance

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note Produced in partnership with Professor Richard A Buckley provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Nuisance—establishing a claim for private nuisance
  • Private nuisance—what situations can give rise to a claim?
  • Private nuisance—noise and vibration
  • Private nuisance—fumes, dust and smell
  • Private nuisance—physical damage to land and buildings
  • Private nuisance—Japanese knotweed
  • Private nuisance—right to light
  • Private nuisance—right to privacy
  • Private nuisance—who can claim?
  • Private nuisance—who can be sued?
  • more

Private nuisance—what situations can give rise to a claim?

Private nuisance normally involves interference with the claimant’s enjoyment of their land, usually by noise or smell or by the causing of actual physical damage to their property.

Interference with the enjoyment of an easement relating to the claimant’s land may also constitute such a nuisance, the right to light being the most common type of claim in this category.

In such cases the claimant can bring a civil claim seeking damages and/or abatement, as appropriate. Some of the following scenarios may also give rise to a statutory nuisance, on which see, eg, Practice Note: Neighbour disputes—noise and nuisance or strict liability under the rule in Rylands v Fletcher, see Practice Note: Nuisance—what are public and private nuisance claims?.

Private nuisance—noise and vibration

The number of possible sources of nuisance by noise is infinite.

The courts have shown a particular willingness to restrain noise at night-time and have indicated that defendants cannot expect to deprive complainants of sleep (eg Halsey v Esso Petroleum).

At the same time, the court exercises particular care in noise cases not to allow unduly sensitive claimants to impose excessive restraints on defendants (see Gaunt v Fynney, per Lord Selborne LC).

The judicial process in noise cases is now often facilitated by taking decibel readings with a sound-level meter in