This site is maintained by Gordon Wignall, barrister. It will provide guides to a number of areas of the law. The first is a short guide to the law of nuisance. It is intended primarily to be for the non-professional client and / or the client’s professional adviser. You can find out more about the author in a separate section of this website.
NUISANCE AND THE LAW:
A SHORT GUIDE
“Gordon is very approachable and he knows the law inside out” Chambers UK Bar Guide (2019)
NUISANCE AND THE LAW: A SHORT GUIDE
Many of us will have experienced a ‘nuisance’ of some description. As a branch of the law, it is widely deployed. It provides remedies in cases of subsidence and contamination, through to noise and odour nuisance. Flooding, inadequate dredging, insanitary housing and birth defects have all been the subject of successful nuisance claims.
Despite the efforts of judges to identify a modern approach to nuisance, the different rules and principles which still apply make this is an apparently difficult area to navigate.
The law of nuisance is subject to a bewildering number of procedures. It provides private remedies in the civil courts. Local authorities and private individuals use the practical remedies available under the statutory nuisance regime. It is a means of prosecution in criminal cases. It is now used internationally in arbitrations to tackle the consequences of climate change.
The aim of this introduction is to explain how the law of nuisance can most conveniently be approached, whilst retaining its very distinct advantages for both sides in any legal dispute.
Judges have compared the law of nuisance with the ancient god Proteus. Both change their shape and form when efforts are made to detect and then apprehend them.
The law of private nuisance is that area of the law which governs strictly private disputes. An initial Introduction identifies four categories of nuisance. This categorisation is designed to make this area of the law as easy as possible to navigate. Each is further explained in the sub-sections reached by way of the ‘private nuisance’ drop-down menu.
Separate sub-sections are also provided to guide the reader through those issues which are common to all four categorisations, namely ‘Claimant’, ‘Defendant’, ‘Defences’ and ‘Remedies’. There are also two self-contained topics which are separately considered, ‘Tree Root Subsidence’ and ‘Flooding and Water’.
This is one compact section summarising the relevant components, mainly concerning public health and the highway. The ‘Remedies‘ sub-section of ‘The Law of Private Nuisance‘ should be consulted in the first instance in order to determine what remedies may be available in cases of public nuisance.
This forms one section (divided into constituent parts) which summarises the provisions available under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (and other legislative instruments). There is one sub-section which identifies the useful (but under-used) rules which are available to private individuals under s.82 of the Act. The various sub-sections are mainly concerned with procedural issues such as routes of appeal and costs, and these can all be accessed by means of the drop-down menu.