Week 13
Public Nuisance
and an Overview
Private Nuisance
Indirect interferences
recognised interest in land
protection of legally recognised right
physical damage to land
substantial and unreasonable interference with
the use and enjoyment of land
Public vs Private
 Public nuisance is a crime
s230 Criminal Code
 action in tort by an individual upon proof of
particular damage
 no interest in land required
 possible to have actions in both private and
public nuisance
Halsey v Esso Petroleum
Public Nuisance
 an unlawful act or omission to discharge a legal
duty which act or omission endangers the lives,
safety, health, property or comfort of the public or
by which the public are obstructed in the exercise
or enjoyment of any right common to all members
of the public.
 Attorney-General v PYA Quarries [1957] 2 QB
 oil overflowing from a service station onto a
public footpath
 oil spillage affecting a river or foreshore
 causing crowds or vehicles to block access to
roads or shops: Lyons, Sons & Co v Gulliver [1914] 1
Ch 361
 the way a game is played, for example, golf –
making the public right of access past the golf
course dangerous: Castle v St Augustine’s Links Ltd
(1922) 38 TLR 615
Standing to Sue
 Action brought in the name of the AttorneyGeneral
“[A] public nuisance is a nuisance which is so
widespread in its range or so indiscriminate in its
effect that it would not be reasonable to expect one
person to take proceedings on his own to put a stop
to it, but that it should be taken on the responsibility
of the community at large.”
– Attorney-General v PYA Quarries [1957] 2 QB
169 at 191
An Individual’s Standing to Sue
 Individual suffered particular damage over
and above the rest of the public
 the interference must be substantial and
 causation must be established
Particular Damage
Personal injury
property damage
depreciation in the value of property
pure economic loss
delay and inconvenience
Ball v Consolidated Rutile
Plaintiff must establish that:
 defendant responsible for the slippage
 slippage interfered with a public right
 the interference constituted a public
 plaintiffs suffered special damage
Defendant’s Liability
 Damage must not be too remote
Wagonmound No 2: test of foreseeability
 Acts of third party
if defendant knew or ought to have known
about the nuisance
 Crowds
act of defendant
did not take reasonable means to avoid the nuisance
if is part of business, defendant liable
• Silservice Pty Ltd v Supreme Bread Pty Ltd
Public Authorities
 Liability only in cases of misfeasance NOT
 Rule of “give and take”
Bamford v Turnley
 objective test
weigh the utility of the defendant’s activities
against the inconvenience to others against
whether the nuisance could have been avoided
 Statutory Authority
Allen v Gulf Oil
 Contributory Negligence
McMeekin v Maryborough Council
 Act of Third Party
Cartwright v McLean & Long Pty Ltd
 Injunction
 Damages
 Abatement
Answering a Question in Public
Identify all possible nuisances.
State the definition of public nuisance.
Apply the definition to the facts.
Consider who has standing to sue.
Consider any possible defences.
Advise on remedies.
Public nuisance is a crime, s230 Criminal