Defences of Negligence

Statutory Authority Defence

If the activities of the defendant are authorised by Government or by Statute, then the defendant will have a total defence to a nuisance claim.

Example

  • Alfa Limited was authorised to rebuild the end of 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 neighbours may have to put up with.

Important Note

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 other only allows restricted hours. For example, London Borough of Chelsea and Kensington does not allow any construction work on Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays, Whereas 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 defence and there will be no claim in nuisance. However, the time starts from the point the claimant becomes aware of the nuisance.

Example

  • Amma has used her garden shed for making sweets for 20 years. Gemma a neighbour 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 a use for 20 years and also the fact that Gemma knew it for the last 20 years, Amma has a Total defence and Gemma’s claim will not succeed.
  • Amma has used her garden shed for making sweets for 20 years. Gemma a neighbour 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 a use 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.

Disclaimer

While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. Each legal case and issue may have unique facts and circumstances, as a result legalally does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information provided. For further help and guidance, you can always rely on and seek advice from our experienced lawyers.

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