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RECONCEPTUALISING THE TORT OF PUBLIC NUISANCE

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

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Abstract

This article seeks to demonstrate three things. First, the orthodox conceptualisation of the tort of public nuisance is flawed, since: (1) it is in violation of basic private law principles related to privity and the actionability of crimes and (2) if taken seriously would mandate that the tort be abolished (as torts protect private not public rights). Second, the rights at the heart of the tort are the privately actionable rights to pass and repass on public highways and to fish in public waters, and that it is plausible that a sophisticated legal system would recognise such rights. Third, a tort reconceptualised in this way can make sense of: (1) the special damage rule that is generally thought arbitrary and (2) the general intuition that the recovery of damages for pure personal injuries is best left to other torts.

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Copyright © Cambridge Law Journal and Contributors 2017 

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Footnotes

* Professor of Law, Western University, Canada. I would like to thank Roderick Bagshaw, Kit Barker, Andrew Botterell, Christopher Essert, Nick McBride, John Murphy, Donal Nolan, Stephen Pitel, Arthur Ripstein, Zoe Sinel and Jacob Weinrib for their comments on drafts of this article and Eric Andrews, Alison Dover, Aaron Farough and Andrew Locatelli for their research assistance. The usual disclaimer applies.

References

1 McBride, N.J. and Bagshaw, R., Tort Law, 5th ed. (Harlow 2015), 658 Google Scholar. Jones prefers “peculiar”: Jones, M.A., “Public Rights, Private Rights and Particular Damage” (1983) 34 N.I.L.Q. 341, at 341Google Scholar.

2 Deakin, S., Johnston, A. and Markesinis, B., Markesinis & Deakin's Tort Law, 7th ed. (Oxford 2013), 452 Google Scholar. See also Peel, E. and Goudkamp, J., Winfield & Jolowicz on Tort, 19th ed. (London 2014), 488 Google Scholar (“public nuisance is a rather unsuccessful attempt to link criminal law with compensation”).

3 Reynolds, O.M. Jr, “Public Nuisance: A Crime in Tort Law” (1978) 31 Oklahoma L.Rev. 318, at 320Google Scholar; Cassels, J., “Prostitution and Public Nuisance: Desperate Measures and the Limits of Civil Adjudication” (1985) 63 Can.Bar.Rev. 764, at 779Google Scholar.

4 Murphy, J., The Law of Nuisance (Oxford 2010), 20 Google Scholar.

5 Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 453; Lee, M., “Personal Injury, Public Nuisance, and Environmental Regulation” (2009) 20 K.L.J. 129, at 136Google Scholar.

6 Nolan, D., “Nuisance” in Oliphant, K. (ed.), The Law of Tort, 3rd ed. (London 2015), §22.2Google Scholar.

7 On the appropriateness and requirements of interpretative theory, see Smith, S.A., Contract Theory (Oxford 2004), 36 Google Scholar; Beever, A. and Rickett, C., “Interpretive Legal Theory and the Academic Lawyer” (2005) 68 M.L.R. 320 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

8 I have discussed the orthodox conception before, see Neyers, J.W., “Divergence and Convergence in the Tort of Public Nuisance” in Tilbury, M. and Robertson, A. (eds.) Divergences in Private Law (Oxford 2015)Google Scholar; Neyers, J.W. and Botterell, A., “ Tate & Lyle, Pure Economic Loss and The Modern Tort of Public Nuisance” (2016) 52 Alta.L.Rev. 1031 Google Scholar. This section draws on these discussions.

9 See e.g. Buckley, R.A., The Law of Nuisance (London 1996), 67 Google Scholar (“A public nuisance is a criminal offence at common law . . . . A private nuisance on the other hand is merely a tort”). See also Jones, M. (ed.), Clerk & Lindsell on Torts, 21st ed. (London 2014)Google Scholar, §20–03; Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.75; Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 454; Witting, C.A., Street on Torts, 14th ed. (Oxford 2015), 469 Google Scholar; Peel and Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz, p. 488.

10 Prosser, W.L., “Private Action for Public Nuisance” (1966) 52 Vand.L.Rev. 997, at 997CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

11 Merrill, T.W., “Is Public Nuisance a Tort?” (2011) 4 J.E.T.L. Article 4, 11 Google Scholar. See also McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 659; Reynolds, “Public Nuisance”, p. 322.

12 See Spencer, J..R., “Civil Liability for Crimes” in Dyson, M. (ed.), Unravelling Tort and Crime (Cambridge 2014), 305 Google Scholar; McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 659.

13 Merrill, “Is Public Nuisance a Tort?”, p. 11. See also Reynolds, “Public Nuisance”, p. 323.

14 Murphy, The Law of Nuisance, p. 154, emphasis in original. See also Beever, A., The Law of Private Nuisance (Oxford 2013), 103 Google Scholar.

15 R. v Rimmington [2005] UKHL 63; [2006] 1 A.C. 459, at [7], citing Anonymous Y.B. 27 Hy. VIII, Mich., pl 10, emphasis added.

16 Ibid., at para. [45].

17 Richardson, J. (ed.), Archbold: Criminal Pleading, Evidence and Practice (London 2010), 2864 Google Scholar.

18 McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 659.

19 Merrill, “Is Public Nuisance a Tort?”, p. 19.

20 Murphy, The Law of Nuisance, p. 137, fn 36.

21 Lonrho Ltd. v Shell Petroleum Co. Ltd. (No. 2) [1982] A.C. 173.

22 OBG Ltd. v Allan [2007] UKHL 21; [2008] 1 A.C. 1.

23 See Halsbury's Laws of England, 5th ed., vol. 97, §493.

24 Spencer, J.R., “Public Nuisance: A Critical Examination” (1989) 48 C.L.J. 55, 83CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Lee, “Personal Injury”, p. 131.

25 See Stevens, R., Torts and Rights (Oxford 2007), 173 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Zipursky, B.C., “Rights, Wrongs, and Recourse in the Law of Torts” (1998) 51 Vand.L.Rev. 1, at 3Google Scholar.

26 McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 659. See also Newark, F.H., “The Boundaries of Nuisance” (1949) 65 L.Q.R. 480, at 483Google Scholar.

27 McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 659; Newark, “The Boundaries”, p. 483.

28 McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 660; Cassels, “Prostitution and Public Nuisance”, p. 788. See also Spencer, “Critical Examination”, p. 55: “Everything in public nuisance runs contrary to modern notions of certainty and precision.”

29 Reynolds, “Public Nuisance”, p. 339.

30 See Murphy, The Law of Nuisance, pp. 25–26. For a similar view, see Beever, Private Nuisance, p. 103.

31 Spencer, “Critical Examination”, p. 55.

32 Tioga Public School District v US Gypsum Co. 984 F2d 915 (8th Cir. 1993) 921.

33 Cassels, “Prostitution and Public Nuisance”, p. 780.

34 Murphy, The Law of Nuisance, p. 154.

35 Buckley, The Law of Nuisance, p. 68; Cassels, “Prostitution and Public Nuisance”, p. 776; Jones, Clerk & Lindsell, §20–04.

36 McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 659. For the detailed history, see Spencer, “Critical Examination”, pp. 58–73.

37 Newark, “The Boundaries”, p. 482.

38 “[I]f a man make a trench across the highway, and I come riding that way by night, and I and my horse together fall in the trench so that I have great damage and inconvenience in that, I shall have an action against him who made the trench across the road because I am more damaged than any other man,” Anonymous YB 27 Hy VIII, Mich, pl 10.

39 McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 659.

40 As Merrill, “Is Public Nuisance a Tort?”, p. 14, states: “Fitzherbert's hypothetical was cited … to mean that the injured rider could sue for public nuisance. What Fitzherbert more likely meant was that … digging the trench in the road gave rise to two causes of action: a public action to abate the injury to the general public, and a private action to recover damages for personal injury.”

41 As happened in Murphy v Brentwood District Council [1991] 1 A.C. 398 overruling Anns v Merton London Borough Council [1978] A.C. 728.

42 As happened in Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd. [1997] A.C. 655.

43 Spencer, “Critical Examination”, p. 83. See also Sappideen, C. and Vines, P. (eds.), Fleming's The Law of Torts, 10th ed. (Pyrmont 2011), 489 Google Scholar (“it may be questioned what would be lost if public as a tort were to disappear”).

44 Cassels, “Prostitution and Public Nuisance”, p. 783.

45 Ibid., at p. 783. See also Murphy, The Law of Nuisance, p. 25.

46 From this point forward, I will use the term “highway” to refer to both roads and navigable waterways, since the law in relation to them is “essentially the same”: see Heuston, R.F.V. and Buckley, R.A. (eds.), Salmond & Heuston on the Law of Torts, 21st ed. (London 1996), 82 Google Scholar; Sauvain, S.J., Highway Law, 5th ed. (London 2013), 2 Google Scholar.

47 See e.g. Rimmington [2005] UKHL 63 l [2006] 1 A.C. 459, at [6], per Lord Bingham: “Interference with the use of a public highway or a public navigable river provides the best and most typical example.” For agreement, see McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 661; Spencer, “Critical Examination”, p. 81; Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.78; Cassels, “Prostitution and Public Nuisance”, p. 775.

48 See Tate & Lyle Food & Distribution Ltd. v G.L.C. [1983] 2 A.C. 509, at [537]; Jacobs v London City Council [1950] A.C. 361, at [375]; DPP v Jones [1999] 2 A.C. 240, 253–55; Steamship Euranav Burrard Inlet Tunnel and Bridge Co. [1931] 1 A.C. 300 (P.C.), at [305]; Hickman v Maisey [1900] 1 Q.B. 752 (CA).

49 Beyond DPP v Jones, see Dovaston v Payne (1795) 2 H. Bl. 527, 531; 126 E.R. 684, 686, per Heath J.; Harrison v Duke of Rutland [1893] 1 Q.B. 142 (CA), at [154], per Lopes L.J.

50 DPP [1999] 2 A.C. 240, 268–69. For this reason, Lord Cairns L.J. thought that the use of the word easement was inappropriate; see Rangeley v Midland Railway Company (1868) 3 Ch. App. 306 (CA), at [310]; Sauvain, Highway Law, pp. 14–16.

51 DPP [1999] 2 A.C. 240, 268–69.

52 “To seek a complete logical definition of the general principle is probably beyond the function of the judge”: Donoghue (or McAlister) v Stevenson [1932] A.C. 562, 580, per Lord Atkin.

53 See Weinrib, E.J., “Correlativity, Personality and the Emerging Consensus on Corrective Justice” (2001) 2 Theo.Inq.L. 107, 153Google Scholar.

54 Ripstein, A., Force and Freedom: Kant's Legal and Political Philosophy (Cambridge, MA 2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

55 Ibid., at p. 36.

56 Kant, I., The Doctrine of Right, trans. and ed., Gregor, M. (Cambridge 1996), 6: 237Google Scholar, emphasis added; Ripstein, Force and Freedom, p. 35.

57 Ripstein, Force and Freedom, p. 37.

58 Ibid., at p. 18.

59 Ibid., at p. 38.

60 See Ibid., at chs 3–5. As he notes: “By making the innate right to freedom the basis for any further rights, Kant imposes an extreme demand for unity on his account of political justice” (p. 31).

61 See Ibid., at ch. 6, where the three defects in the state of nature are discussed. For a short summary, see Penner, J., “The State Duty to Support the Poor in Kant's Doctrine of Right” (2010) 12 British Journal of Politics and International Relations 88, 95 Google Scholar.

62 For agreement, see Penner, “The State Duty”, p. 100.

63 Ripstein, Force and Freedom, p. 245.

64 Ibid., at p. 247.

65 Ibid., at p. 248.

66 Ibid., at p. 247.

67 Ibid., at p. 247.

68 Ibid., at p. 248.

69 Ibid., at pp. 248–49.

70 Ibid., at p. 262.

71 Ibid., at pp. 261–62.

72 A-G for British Columbia v A-G for Canada [1914] A.C. 153 (P.C.), 172; Anderson v Alnwick DC [1993] 1 W.L.R. 1156 (Div. Ct.), 1166.

73 So described in Blundell v Catterall (1821) 5 B. & Ald. 268 (KB), 1200; Brinckman v Matley [1904] 2 Ch. 313 (KB & CA), 315; A-G for British Columbia [1914] A.C. 153 (PC), 168; Johnston v O'Neill [1911] A.C. 552, 605; Loose v Lynn Shellfish Ltd. [2014] EWCA Civ 846, at [5]. See also Harpum, C., Bridge, S. and Dixon, M., Megarry & Wade: The Law of Real Property, 8th ed. (London 2012), §27069 Google Scholar: the “public right which most closely resembles a profit is the right of the public to fish in the sea and all tidal waters”.

74 See e.g. Malcolmson v O'Dea (1863) 10 H.L.C. 593 (HL); A-G for British Columbia [1914] A.C. 153 (PC); A-G for Canada v A-G for Quebec [1920] 1 A.C. 413 (P.C.); Isle of Anglesey County Council v Welsh Ministers [2010] Q.B. 163 (CA).

75 Gullet, W., “Up the Creek and Out at Sea: the Resurfacing of the Public Right to Fish” [2006] 14 Maritime Studies 1, 2 Google Scholar. See also A-G for British Columbia [1914] A.C. 153 (PC), 174.

76 See Estey, W., “Public Nuisance and Standing to Sue” (1972) 10 Osgoode Hall L.J. 563, 564Google Scholar.

77 Neill v Duke of Devonshire (1882) 8 App. Cas. 135, 177, quoting from Lord Hale, De Jure Maris, Pars Prima, c. 4.

78 A-G for British Columbia [1914] A.C. 153 (PC), 169.

79 Malcolmson (1863) 10 H.L.C. 593 (HL).

80 A-G for British Columbia [1914] A.C. 153 (PC), 170. For an excellent summary, see Barnes, R., “Revisiting the Public Right to Fish in British Waters” (2011) 26 International Journal of Marine & Coastal Law 433 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

81 See e.g. Lord Leconfield v Lord Lonsdale (1870) L.R. 5 C.P. 657; Whelan v Hewson [1871] 6 I.R. 283 (Ex. Ct.); Fillion v New Brunswick International Paper Co. [1934] 3 D.L.R. 22 (N.B.C.A.); Hickey v Electric Reduction Co. of Canada (1970) 21 D.L.R. (3d) 368 (Nfld. SC); Jan de Nul (UK) Ltd. v NV Royale Belge [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 700 (QB), aff'd on other grounds, [2002] 1 Lloyd's Rep 583 (CA).

82 Ripstein, Force and Freedom, p. 278.

83 Ibid., at p. 279. See also the discussions of Kant and poverty in Weinrib, E.J., Corrective Justice (Oxford 2012), 238 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Penner, “The State Duty”, pp. 98–100.

84 Ripstein, Force and Freedom, p. 282.

85 Ibid., at p. 284.

86 Ibid., at p. 285. As he explains: “in the past, societies with large amounts of habitable but uninhabited land could make it available for homesteading” whereas modern states regularly “provide publicly funded universal health care” to prevent “illness and medical expense” from causing “citizens to fall into conditions of dependency” (p. 285).

87 For example, in Steel v Houghton (1788) 1 H. Bl. 51, 52; 126 E.R. 32 (HL), 33, it was argued that the public right to glean a field might be limited to poor persons legally settled in a parish.

88 Rimmington [2005] UKHL 63; [2006] 1 A.C. 459, at [6].

89 Although the exact mechanics of poor relief changed over the centuries, this principle did not. For the pre-1834 position, see Quigley, W.P., “Five Hundred Years of English Poor Laws, 1349–1834: Regulating the Working and Nonworking Poor” (1996–1997) 30 Akron L.Rev. 73, 90Google Scholar; Oxley, G.W., Poor Relief in England and Wales, 1601–1834 (Newton Abbot 1974)Google Scholar. As is well known, the reforms of 1834 were designed to make the conditions of the able-bodied poor in receipt of assistance “inferior to that of the poorest independent worker” so as to encourage them to work; see Englander, D., Poverty and Poor Law Reform in 19th Century Britain, 1834–1914 (London 1998), 1112 Google Scholar.

90 As Anuerin Bevan is quoted as saying: “We live on an island made of coal and surrounded by a sea full of fish, only an organisational genius could arrange a shortage of both at the same time.” See Appleby, T., “The Public Right to Fish: Is It Fit For Purpose?” (2005) 16 Journal of Water Law 201, 201Google Scholar.

91 Anderson [1993] 1 W.L.R. 1156 (Div. Ct.), 1169.

92 Brinckman [1904] 2 Ch. 313, 315. See also Ward v Cresswell (1741) Willes’ Rep. 265.

93 Bagott v Orr (1801) 2 Bos. & P. 472; 126 E.R. 1391.

94 Blundell (1821) 5 B. & Ald. 268 (KB), 1200, 1294.

95 Ripstein, Force and Freedom, p. 253.

96 Such a right was rejected in Lord Fitzhardinge v Purcell [1908] 2 Ch. 139 as irreconcilable with prior authority (cited in note 102 below).

97 Such a right was rejected in Steel (1788) 1 H. Bl. 51, 52; 126 E.R. 32 (HL), in relation to private land since its recognition was conducive of fraud, destructive of peace and order, and unnecessary, as the contemporaneous poor law had already “pledged all the landed property of the kingdom for the maintenance of the poor” (p. 38).

98 Alfred Beckett v Lyons [1967] Ch. 449 (CA), 480.

99 See e.g. the discussion in Estey, “Public Nuisance”, p. 564.

100 For an excellent discussion, see Walrut, B., “The Public Right to use the Sea and Rivers” (2003) 20 E.P.L.J. 423 Google Scholar.

101 See e.g. Anderson [1993] 1 W.L.R. 1156 (Div. Ct.) (taking lugworms from the foreshore is ancillary to the public right of fishing).

102 Beyond the authority already cited, courts have decided that there is no public right to: (1) visit or inspect important monuments: A-G v Antrobus [1905] 2 Ch. 188; (2) permanently moor supply ships in navigable waterways: Denaby and Cadeby Main Collieries Ltd. v Anson [1911] 1 K.B. 171 (CA); or (3) to use the foreshore as a highway, meeting place or church or to take seaweed, coal or otherwise beachcomb: Brinckman [1904] 2 Ch. 313 (KB & CA); Llandudno UDC v Woods [1899] 2 Ch. 705; Brighton Corp. v Packham (1908) 72 J.P. 318, Mahoney v Neenan [1966] I.R. 559 (HC).

103 Denaby and Cadeby [1911] 1 K.B. 171 (CA), 201. See also Brinckman [1904] 2 Ch. 313 (KB & CA), 325.

104 Clerk, J.F. and Lindsell, W.H.B., The Law of Torts (London 1889), 303 Google Scholar.

105 Ripstein, Force and Freedom, p. 152.

106 See e.g. Buckley, The Law of Nuisance, pp. 68–69; Jones, Clerk & Lindsell, §20–03; Peel and Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz, p. 448; Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 454; Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.75–§22.78; McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, pp. 663–65.

107 A-G v P.Y.A. Quarries Ltd. [1957] 2 Q.B. 169 (CA).

108 R. v Lloyd (1802) 4 Esp. 200; 170 E.R. 691.

109 Rimmington [2005] UKHL 63; [2006] 1 A.C. 459.

110 See e.g. McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, pp. 664–65; Witting, Street on Torts, pp. 373–74; Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 454.

111 Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.75.

112 Rimmington [2005] UKHL 63; [2006] 1 A.C. 459, at 470.

113 This is the position taken in the Restatement (Second) of Torts, §821B comment G. For a fuller discussion of the American law, see Abrams, R. and Washington, V., “The Misunderstood Law of Public Nuisance: A Comparison with Private Nuisance Twenty Years After Boomer ” (1990) 54 Albany L.Rev. 359, 384–85Google Scholar.

114 Clerk and Lindsell, The Law of Torts, p. 303.

115 Kodilinye, G., “Public Nuisance and Particular Damage in the Modern Law” (1986) 6 L.S. 182, 182Google Scholar.

116 Walsh v Ervin [1952] V.L.R. 361 (SC), 367.

117 Murphy, The Law of Nuisance, p. 140.

118 Spencer, “Critical Examination”, p. 74. See also Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 454.

119 Witting, Street on Torts, pp. 470–71.

120 Reynolds, “Public Nuisance”, p. 337.

121 For: Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 455; Buckley, The Law of Nuisance, p. 75. Against: Sappideen and Vines, Fleming's The Law of Torts, p. 490; Reynolds, “Public Nuisance”, p. 337; Antolini, D.E., “Modernizing Public Nuisance: Solving the Paradox of the Special Injury Rule” (2001) 28 Ecology L.Q. 755 Google Scholar; McLaren, J.P.S., “The Common Law Nuisance Actions and the Environmental Battle: Well-Tempered Swords or Broken Reeds?” (1972) 10 Osgoode Hall L.J. 505, 515Google Scholar; Cassels, “Prostitution and Public Nuisance”, p. 787.

122 Benjamin v Storr (1874) L.R. 9 C.P. 406, which ironically “could have been regarded as one of private nuisance”; see Buckley, The Law of Nuisance, p. 74. See also Overseas Tankship UK Ltd. v Miller Steamship Co. Pty “The Wagon Mound No 2” [1967] 1 A.C. 617 (PC), 635–36; Jan de Nul [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 700 (QB), 714–15.

123 For a history of the debate in Anglo-American law, see Antolini, “Modernizing Public Nuisance”.

124 See e.g. Fridman, G.H.L., “The Definition of Particular Damage in Nuisance” (1953) 2 U.W.A.L.R. 490, 503Google Scholar; Prosser, “Private Action”.

125 See e.g. Metropolitan Board of Works v McCarthy (1874) L.R. 7 H.L. 243, 263, per Lord Penzance; Southport Corporation v Esso Petroleum Co. Ltd. [1954] 2 Q.B. 182 (CA), 197, per Lord Denning, reversed on other grounds, [1956] A.C. 218; Jan de Nul [2000] 2 Lloyd's Rep. 700 (QB), at [44], per Moore-Bick J.; Antolini, “Modernizing Public Nuisance”, p. 859; Kodilinye, “Public Nuisance”, p. 193; Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 455; McBride and Bagshaw, Tort Law, p. 670.

126 Sappideen and Vines, Fleming's The Law of Torts, p. 491.

127 See Buckley, The Law of Nuisance, pp. 76–77; Kodilinye, “Public Nuisance”, pp. 185, 187–88.

128 Ripstein, A., Private Wrongs (Cambridge, MA 2016), 9 CrossRefGoogle Scholar. For a similar view, see Benson, P., “Misfeasance as an Organizing Idea of Private Law” (2010) 60 U.T.L.J. 731, 768–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

129 Ripstein, Private Wrongs, p. 87. See also Benson, “Misfeasance”, p. 771.

130 Ripstein, Private Wrongs, p. 243. But not the only way: see Stevens, Torts and Rights, pp. 60–61, discussing substitutive damages.

131 Stevens, Torts and Rights, p. 101.

132 Ripstein, Private Wrongs, p. 9. See also Benson, “Misfeasance”, pp. 768–69.

133 See e.g. Rose v Miles (1815) 4 M.& S. 101; 105 E.R. 773 (KB); Iveson v Moore (1792) 1 Ld.Raym. 486; 91 E.R. 1224; Maynell v Saltmarsh (1685) 1 Keb 847; 83 E.R. 1278 (KB); Hart v Basset (1729) T. Jones 156; 84 E.R. 1194 (KB); Greasly v Codling (1824) 2 Bing. 263; 130 E.R. 307 (CP); Chichester v Lethbridge (1738) Willes 71; 125 E.R. 1065 (CP).

134 McBride, M.S., “Critical Legal History and Private Actions Against Public Nuisances, 1800–1865” (1989) 22 Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems 307, 319 Google Scholar, summarising the view presented in Wood, H.G., A Practical Treatise on the Law of Nuisances (Albany, NY 1875)Google Scholar.

135 Wood, A Practical Treatise, §632.

136 See White, G.E., “The Integrity of Holmes’ Jurisprudence” (1982) 10 Hofstra L.Rev. 633, 643Google Scholar, cited in Antolini, “Modernizing Public Nuisance”, p. 807.

137 Smith, J., “Private Action for Obstruction to Public Right of Passage” (1915) 15 Colum.L.Rev. 1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar; (1915) 15 Colum.L.Rev. 142, 11 (quoting Pollock, F., The Law of Torts, 6th ed. (London 1901), 612 Google Scholar).

138 Smith, Contract Theory, p. 13, citing Piscataqua Navigation Co. v New York N.H. & H.R.R. 89 F. 362 (D. Mass. 1898), per Brown J.

139 See e.g. Sauvain, Highway Law, p. 268; Kodilinye, “Public Nuisance”, p. 190; Reynolds, “Public Nuisance”, p. 337; Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.82; Fridman, “Particular Damage”, p. 503.

140 Sappideen and Vines, Fleming's The Law of Torts, p. 491.

141 Tate & Lyle [1983] 2 A.C. 509, 537.

142 See e.g. R. v Betts (1850) 16 Q.B. 1022; R. v Bartholomew [1908] 1 K.B. 554; Whaley v Kelsey [1928] 2 D.L.R. 268 (Ont. CA); A-G v Wilcox [1938] Ch. 934; Isle of Anglesey [2010] Q.B. 163 (CA), 181.

143 See Colls v Home and Colonial Stores Ltd. [1904] A.C. 179; Nicholls v Ely Beet Sugar Factory Ltd. (No. 2) [1936] Ch. 343 (CA); Nolan, D., “‘A Tort against Land’: Private Nuisance as a Property Tort” in Nolan, D. and Robertson, A. (eds.), Rights and Private Law (Oxford 2011), 457, 464Google Scholar; Peel and Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz, p. 451.

144 Lord Leconfield (1870) L.R. 5 C.P. 657, 665.

145 Harper v GN Haden & Sons [1933] Ch. 298 (CA), 320.

146 See e.g. Ocean Leisure v Westminster [2004] 43 E.G. 144 (CA), at [14], where defendant's counsel argued that there was “a special rule for applicable to hoardings erected in connection with building works”.

147 Marshall v Blackpool Corporation [1935] A.C. 16; Cusack v Harrow London Borough Council [2013] UKSC 40.

148 Peel and Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz, p. 488.

149 Trevett v Lee [1955] 1 W.L.R. 113 (CA), 11.

150 Kodilinye, “Public Nuisance”, p. 193.

151 Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 456.

152 See e.g. Peel and Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz, p. 449; Martin v L.C.C. (1899) 14 T.L.R. 575, 575.

153 After noting that direct cannot have the same meaning as it has in relation to the distinction between trespass and case (since “the nuisance action has always been supposed to lie for consequential injury”) and cannot mean reasonable foreseeability (since, in The Wagon Mound No. 2 [1967] 1 A.C. 617 (PC), “Lord Reid suggested that the requirement … had nothing to do with remoteness of damage”), Kodilinye concedes that he cannot explain what the requirement entails (Kodilinye, “Public Nuisance”, pp. 191, 193). For similar frustration, see Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 456.

154 Jones, Clerk & Lindsell, §20–184.

155 Wilkes v Hungerford Market Co. (1835) 2 Bing.N.C. 281; 132 E.R. 110.

156 Colour Quest Ltd. v Total Downstream UK plc [2009] EWHC 540, at [459].

157 Ricket v Directors of the Metropolitan Railway Company (1868) L.R. 2 H.L. 175, 196.

158 Wilkes (1835) 2 Bing. N.C. 281; 132 E.R. 110, was taken to be overruled in Beckett v Midland Ry. (1867) L.R. 3 C.& P. 82, 100, per Willes J., and Martin (1899) 14 T.L.R. 575, per Kennedy J.

159 See Neyers, J.W. and Andrews, E., “Loss of Custom and Public Nuisance: The Authority of Ricket ” (2016) L.M.C.L.Q. 135 Google Scholar.

160 For a similar view, see Witting, Street on Torts, p. 472.

161 Murphy, The Law of Nuisance, p. 27.

162 Kodilinye, “Public Nuisance”, pp. 193–94; Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 456.

163 Estey, “Public Nuisance”, pp. 572, 569.

164 For a more detailed discussion, see Neyers and Andrews, “Loss of Custom and Public Nuisance”.

165 Jacobs [1950] A.C. 361, 376.

166 Campbell v Paddington Corp [1911] 1 K.B. 869 (Div. Ct.).

167 Benjamin (1874) L.R. 9 C.P. 406.

168 For a similar view, see Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.82.

169 For a more detailed discussion, see Neyers, “Divergence and Convergence”, pp. 84–87.

170 Antolini, “Modernizing Public Nuisance”, p. 886. See also Law Reform Commission of British Columbia, Civil Litigation in the Public Interest (Vancouver 1980), 3136 Google Scholar; McLaren, “Well-Tempered Swords”, p. 515.

171 Antolini, “Modernizing Public Nuisance”, p. 887; Prosser, “Private Action”, p. 1007; Anonymous Y.B. 27 Hy. VIII, Mich., pl 10, per Baldwin C.J.

172 See e.g. R. v Pease (1832) 4 B. & Ad.30; 110 E.R. 366; R. v Train (1862) 2 B. & S. 640; 121 E.R. 1209 (QB); Steamship Eurana [1931] 1 A.C. 300; Tate & Lyle [1983] 2 A.C. 509; Isle of Anglesey [2010] Q.B. 163 (CA).

173 Civil Litigation in the Public Interest, p. 31.

174 See authority cited in note 142 above.

175 Antolini, “Modernizing Public Nuisance”, p. 890.

176 Smith, “Private Action”, p. 6.

177 See Civil Litigation in the Public Interest, p. 60. See also McLaren, “Well-Tempered Swords”, p. 515 (“if there are trivial claims, it is surely not beyond the capacity of the courts to expose and discourage them”).

178 This concern was famously expressed by Baldwin C.J.: “if one person shall have an action by this, by the same reason every person shall have an action, and so he will be punished a hundred times on the same case”. Anonymous Y.B. 27 Hy. VIII, Mich., pl 10. See also Paine v Partrich (1691) Carth. 191, 193; 90 E.R. 715, 717, per Gregory J.; Winterbottom v Lord Derby (1867) L.R. 2 Exch. 316, 321, per Kelly C.B.

179 See Antolini, “Modernizing Public Nuisance”, p. 889.

180 Smith, “Private Action”, p. 5.

181 Sappideen and Vines, Fleming's The Law of Torts, p. 490. See also Kodilinye, “Public Nuisance”, p. 182; Peel and Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz, p. 446, fn 31; Fridman, G.H.L., Torts (London 1990), 213 Google Scholar; Spencer, “Critical Examination”, p. 73; Newark, “The Boundaries”, p. 483.

182 Smith, “Private Action”, p. 5.

183 For a more detailed discussion, see Neyers and Botterell, “Tate & Lyle”.

184 Spencer, “Critical Examination”, p. 83. See also Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.83.

185 See e.g. Sappideen and Vines, Fleming's The Law of Torts, pp. 489–90; Buckley, The Law of Nuisance, p. 75.

186 Witting, Street on Torts, p. 471, fn 274.

187 Ball v Consolidated Rutile [1991] Qd. 524, 546. See also Hickey (1970) 21 D.L.R. (3d) 368 (Nfld. SC), at [16]–[17].

188 As recognised in Hedley Byrne & Co. Ltd. v Heller & Partners Ltd. [1964] A.C. 465.

189 For a discussion, see Stevens, Torts and Rights, ch. 3; Benson, P., “The Basis for Excluding Liability for Economic Loss in Tort Law” in Owen, D.G. (ed.), Philosophical Foundations of Tort Law (Oxford 1995), 427 Google Scholar; Beever, A., Rediscovering the Law of Negligence (Oxford 2007), chs 7–8Google Scholar.

190 See Ripstein, Private Wrongs, ch. 7, for a detailed examination of the right involved.

191 As described above in Section IV(B)(3).

192 Spencer, “Critical Examination”, p. 83.

193 Tate & Lyle [1983] 2 A.C. 509, 530–31.

194 Ibid., at p. 537.

195 For a more detailed discussion, see Neyers, “Divergence and Convergence”, pp. 87–93.

196 See e.g. Newark, “The Boundaries”; Heuston and Buckley, Salmond & Heuston, p. 89; Fridman, Torts, p. 219; Peel and Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz, p. 488.

197 Newark, “The Boundaries”, pp. 484–86.

198 For example, injuries caused by falling trees (or other natural objects) require proof that the defendant failed to take reasonable precautions: see Caminer v Northern & London Investment Trust [1951] A.C. 88.

199 Wringe v Cohen [1940] 1 K.B. 229 (CA), 229.

200 As others have pointed out, the fact that a defendant is not liable for damage resulting from “the act of a trespasser, or by a secret and unobservable operation of nature” (see Wringe [1940] 1 K.B. 229, 233) means that the rule “has been substantially assimilated to ordinary fault liability”: Deakin et al., Markesinis & Deakin's, p. 458. See also Peel and Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz, pp. 490–91; Friedmann, W., “Nuisance, Negligence and the Overlapping of Torts” (1940) 4 M.L.R. 305 Google Scholar; Fridman, Torts, p. 220; Sauvain, Highway Law, p. 264.

201 See Hunter [1997] A.C. 655, 707–08, per Lord Hoffmann: “So far as the claim is for personal injury, it seems to me that the only appropriate cause of action is negligence.”

202 Rylands v Fletcher (1868) L.R. 3 H.L. 330. In Transco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council [2004] 2 A.C. 1, at [35], Lord Hoffmann said: “In some cases in the first half of the 20th century plaintiffs recovered damages under the rule for personal injury … . But I think that the point is now settled by … Cambridge Water Co. v Eastern Counties Leather plc [1994] A.C. 264, which decided that Rylands v Fletcher is a special form of nuisance and Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd. … which decided that nuisance is a tort against land. It must, I think, follow that damages for personal injuries are not recoverable under the rule.”

203 Newark, “The Boundaries”, p. 488.

204 As Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.81, makes clear: “Injury to person … is particular damage for the purposes of a public nuisance action”. See also Murphy, The Law of Nuisance, p. 140; Lee, “Personal Injury”, p. 134.

205 In Re Corby Group Litigation [2009] Q.B. 335 (CA).

206 Ibid., at para. [23].

207 Ibid., at para. [24].

208 Ibid., at paras. [29]–[30].

209 See Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.77; Buckley, The Law of Nuisance, p. 74; Sappideen and Vines, Fleming's The Law of Torts, pp. 488–89.

210 As Lord Denning noted in Morton v Wheeler (CA, 31 January 1956), 5, “the great merit of framing the case in [public] nuisance” is that it “puts the legal burden, where it ought to be, on the defendant, whereas in negligence it is on the plaintiff”. See also his judgment in Southport Corporation [1954] 2 Q.B. 182 (CA), 197.

211 For a similar view, see Beever, Private Nuisance, p. 103; Peel and Goudkamp, Winfield & Jolowicz, p. 488.

212 Newark, “The Boundaries”, p. 482.

213 For a similar view in relation to private nuisance, see Nolan, “Nuisance”, §22.104.

214 Ware v Garston Haulage Ltd. [1944] K.B. 30 (CA).

215 Dymond v Pearce [1972] 1 Q.B. 496 (CA) (liability denied since effective cause of the accident was the failure of the driver to keep a lookout rather than the obstruction of the defendant).

216 Maitland v Raisbeck [1944] 1 K.B. 689 (CA), 691: “A nuisance will obviously be created if he allows the obstruction to continue for an unreasonable time.”

217 For a discussion, see Schwartz, V.E. and Goldberg, P., “The Law of Public Nuisance: Maintaining Rational Boundaries on a Rational Tort” (2005–2006) 45 Washburn L.J. 541 Google Scholar; Mullen, S., “The Continuing Vitality of the Climate Change Nuisance Suit” (2011) 63 Rutgers L.Rev. 697 Google Scholar; Faulk, R.O. and Gray, J.S., “Alchemy in the Courtroom: The Transmutation of Public Nuisance Litigation” (2007) Michigan State Law Review 941 Google Scholar; Grubb, C., “Worthy of Their Name? Addressing Aquatic Nuisance Species with Common Law Public Nuisance Claims” (2012) 87 Chicago-Kent L.Rev. 237 Google Scholar.

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