By Hugh Sorry Deans, Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution.
I recently wrote an article discussing home security devices and stated that the law on nuisance caused by the loss of privacy was under review.
The Supreme Court reviews and restates the law of private nuisance.
On 1 February 2023, the Supreme Court held that a nuisance was a use of land which wrongly interfered with the ordinary use and enjoyment of neighbouring land. It further decided that to amount to a nuisance, the interference had to be substantial, judged by the standards of ordinary people, and even then there would be no liability if it was doing no more than making a common and ordinary use of the land. That would depend upon a number of considerations, including whether it was in a residential or industrial area.
The decision was by a majority of 3/2 and is likely to cause controversy.
The case was decided on the particular facts of a claim brought by the owners and occupiers of flats adjacent to the Tate Modern extension building on the south bank of the Thames which had a viewing platform on the top floor.
The occupiers of the flats complained that visitors to the Tate extension and the viewing platform, were able to see straight into their living accommodation. Furthermore, they used binoculars and took photographs which were posted on social media.
The Supreme Court ruled that this viewing platform allowed visitors to cause a nuisance to the adjoining flat owners. It would be no defence to a claim for nuisance that the land was being used reasonably or in a way that benefited the general public.
For more information on private nuisance law or to discuss a potential dispute, please contact Hugh Sorry Deans, Partner and Head of Dispute Resolution at 01202 482202. This article is intended for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.