- Court dismisses privacy claims by owners of overlooked flats (Fearn and others v Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery)
- What are the practical implications of the judgment?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
Property Disputes analysis: Richard Harrison, partner at Laytons LLP, examines the High Court’s decision in Fearn v Tate Gallery to dismiss privacy claims by the owners of flats which were overlooked by a public viewing gallery in the defendant’s neighbouring building. The court rejected the claimants’ direct claim in privacy under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights because the defendant was not exercising functions of a public nature in relation to its general activities or its operation of the viewing gallery. The court also found that while the law of nuisance was capable of protecting privacy rights from overlooking, the flats’ extensively glassed living areas created a particularly sensitive property which the claimants had been operating in a way that had increased that sensitivity.
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