- Oil spill found not to be a continuing nuisance (Jalla v Shell International Trading and Shipping Co)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- One-off events and continuing causes of action
- The distinction between nuisance and damage
- Adoption, abatement, and the question of ‘control’
- Case details
Property Dispute analysis: This appeal raised an important issue regarding the tort of private nuisance—namely, whether an alleged failure to clean up an oil spill can amount to a ‘continuing nuisance’, with the effect that a fresh cause of action accrues each day the oil remains on a claimant’s land. The Court of Appeal found unanimously that a one-off event (in this case, a confined escape of oil) does not amount to a ‘continuous’ state of affairs in nuisance. Accordingly, a cause of action accrues (and the applicable limitation period will commence) when actionable damage is first suffered by the claimant. Written by Conway Blake, international counsel, at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
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