Nuisance Depends on Circumstances

February 28, 2012

Nuisance Depends on Circumstances

The Court of Appeal recently decided on a claim for nuisance and its decision contained some interesting logic: in essence, implying that what would be classed as a nuisance in one place might not be classed as a nuisance somewhere else.

The case involved a firm which had premises adjacent to a food manufacturer. The firm complained about the odours of curry and garlic emanating from the food manufacturer’s premises, which they claimed caused sore throats, breathing problems and nausea among their staff.

The local authority was asked to investigate, but did not support the claim of nuisance.

The firm considered the problem to be so bad that it relocated to another site and brought a claim against the food manufacturer for damages in compensation for its additional costs.

In a judgment that dealt with the facts of the severity of the problem, the court ruled that there was insufficient evidence of nuisance and the judge noted that the businesses were in a light industrial park, not a ‘high-class genteel business park’. Of particular importance were the intermittent nature of the nuisance and the fact that the employees of the company alleged to be causing the nuisance had not complained of any ill effects.

The court therefore rejected the claim.

On appeal, the Court of Appeal also considered that insulation of the party wall between the premises, which was porous, could have ameliorated or possibly eliminated the problem and might have provided a more practical solution than litigation. It upheld the original decision.

The case shows the importance in such cases of attempting to find practical solutions to problems such as this, and implies that what would be considered to be a nuisance might differ depending on the circumstances.