The law defends the right of people to the peaceful enjoyment of their own property or in the exercise of a common right and a breach of this right by another is a nuisance at common law.
Whilst nuisance is seated in the torts of common law it can also be actionable in the criminal courts.
What is a private nuisance?
A private nuisance is one of interfering with the rights of an individual. A private nuisance was defined by Sir John Romily as;
“The real question in all the cases is the question of fact, whether the annoyance is such as materially to interfere with the ordinary comfort of human existence” Crump V. Lambert, 1867
What is a public nuisance?
A public nuisance is one that interferes with the rights of the public at large. A public nuisance has been defined as;
“an act not warranted by law, or an omission to discharge a legal duty, which act or omission obstructs or causes inconvenience or damage to the public in the exercise of rights common to all Her Majesty’s subjects” James Fitzjames Stephen.
Is negligence a requirement for an action in nuisance?
Negligence is not required for an action in nuisance and this is a significant factor that differentiates nuisance as the exercise of reasonable care by the defendant is not it itself a defence.