Introduction to Defences of Nuisance
Statutory Authority Defence
If the activities of the defendant are authorized by the Government or by Statute, then the defendant will have a total defense to a nuisance claim.
- Alfa Limited was authorized to rebuild the end of the Street tower block. Any nuisance as a result of activities of Alfa Limited will not be a subject of a claim in nuisance.
- Ali has started constructing an extension in his garden after receiving planning permission. Any noise as a result of construction, the neighbors may have to put up with.
Every Borough in the United Kingdom has strict rules on the timing for carrying out construction activities. They are generally restricted from 9 AM to 5 PM during weekdays. On bank holidays and over the weekend, some Boroughs do not allow any construction work and others only allow restricted hours. For example, London Borough of Chelsea and Kensington does not allow any construction work on Saturday, Sunday, and bank holidays, Whereas the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham only allows from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturday and no work on Sunday or bank holidays at all. Please check with your local Borough Council for the exact timings.
Twenty Years’ Prescription
Where a person can show that he has used the land in the way complained of for more than 20 years, he/she has a total defense and there will be no claim in nuisance. However, the time starts from the point the claimant becomes aware of the nuisance.
- Amma has used her garden shed for making sweets for 20 years. Gemma a neighbor is aware of the nuisance and has visited the shed many times over 20 years. Gemma has now complained about the noise emanating from the garden shed. As Amma can prove useful for 20 years and also the fact that Gemma knew it for the last 20 years, Amma has a Total defense, and Gemma’s claim will not succeed.
- Amma has used her garden shed for making sweets for 20 years. Gemma a neighbor has just built a clinic in her garden shed and noticed the noise Amma’s sweet factory is producing. Gemma has now complained about the noise emanating from the garden shed. Although Amma can prove useful for 20 years, as Gemma became aware only recently, Gemma may succeed in her claim as the requirement of 20 years of tolerance on behalf of the claimant is not fulfilled.
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