Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., (1997) 215 N.R. 1 (HL)

Case DateApril 24, 1997
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1997), 215 N.R. 1 (HL)

Hunter v. Canary Wharf Ltd. (1997), 215 N.R. 1 (HL)

MLB headnote and full text

Hunter and others (A.P.) (original appellants and cross-respondents) v. Canary Wharf Limited (original respondents and cross-appellants)

Hunter and others (respondents) v. London Docklands Development Corporation (appellants)

Indexed As: Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp.

House of Lords

London, England

Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Lloyd of Berwick,

Lord Hoffmann, Lord Cooke of Thorndon and Lord Hope of Craighead

April 24, 1997.

Summary:

In the first nuisance action, Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd., the plaintiffs claimed damages for interference with the television reception at their homes allegedly caused by the construction of a tall building on land developed by the defendants. In the second nuisance action, Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., the plaintiffs claimed damages arising from excessive amounts of dust created by the defendant's construction of a road. Two preliminary issues of law arose, namely (1) whether interference with television reception is capable of constituting an actionable nuisance, and (2) whether it is necessary to have an interest in property to claim private nuisance and, if so, what interest in property will satisfy this requirement. The trial judge held that (1) interference with television reception could constitute actionable nuisance, and (2) the right of exclusive possession of land was necessary to entitle a person to sue in private nuisance. Appeals ensued.

The Court of Appeal, in a decision re­ported [1996] 2 W.L.R. 348, allowed the appeals, reversing the trial judge on both issues. The Court of Appeal held (1) that the creation or presence of a building in the line of sight between a television transmitter and other properties was not actionable as an interference with the use and enjoyment of land, but (2) that occupation of property as a home provided a sufficiently substantial link to enable the occupier to sue in private nuisance. The plaintiffs in the first action appealed against the first finding and the defendants in both actions appealed against the second finding.

The House of Lords dismissed the plain­tiffs' appeal in the first action, and affirmed that interference with the television trans­mission by the mere presence of the build­ing did not constitute an actionable nuisance. The court, Lord Cooke of Thorndon, dissenting on this point, allowed the defendants' appeals and held that the right of exclusive possession of property was necessary in order to maintain an action for private nuisance.

Torts - Topic 1004

Nuisance - General principles and defini­tions - Actionable nuisance - What con­stitutes - The plaintiffs claimed damages for interference with the television recep­tion at their homes allegedly caused by the construction of a tall building on land developed by the defendants - The House of Lords held that interference with the television transmission by the mere pres­ence of the building did not constitute an actionable nuisance - See paragraphs 1 to 12, 48 to 51, 82 to 92, 117 to 127 and 137 to 141.

Torts - Topic 1267

Nuisance - Particular nuisances - Inter­ference with television transmission - [See Torts - Topic 1004 ].

Torts - Topic 1520

Nuisance - Actions - Who may bring action - Private nuisance - The House of Lords held that a right of exclusive pos­session of land is necessary to entitle a person to sue in private nuisance - The court rejected the position that occupation of property as a home provided a suf­ficiently substantial link to enable the occupier to sue in private nuisance - See paragraphs 13 to 47, 52 to 81, 93 to 116, 128 to 136.

Cases Noticed:

Bridlington Relay Ltd. v. Yorkshire Elec­tricity Board, [1965] Ch. 436, refd to. [paras. 6, 82].

Nor-Video Services Ltd. v. Ontario Hydro (1978), 84 D.L.R.(3d) 221 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [paras. 6, 117].

Attorney General v. Doughty (1752), 2 Ves. Sen. 453, refd to. [paras. 8, 49].

Fishmongers' Co. v. East India Co. (1752), 1 Dick. 163, refd to. [para. 8].

Aldred's Case (1610), 9 Co. Rep. 57b, refd to. [paras. 8, 85].

Chastey v. Ackland, [1895] 2 Ch. 389, refd to. [para. 8].

Dalton v. Angus (1881), 6 App. Cas. 740 (H.L.), refd to. [paras. 8, 49, 86].

Thompson-Schwab v. Costaki, [1956] 1 W.L.R. 335, refd to. [para. 8].

Bank of New Zealand v. Greenwood, [1984] 1 N.Z.L.R. 525, refd to. [paras. 8, 50, 95, 135].

Sedleigh-Denfield v. O'Callaghan, [1940] A.C. 880, refd to. [paras. 15, 63, 94, 131].

Read v. Lyons (J.) & Co., [1947] A.C. 156 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 15, 39, 67, 98, 130].

Tate & Lyle Ltd. v. Greater London Council, [1983] 2 A.C. 509, refd to. [para. 15].

Newcastle-under-Lyme Corp. v. Wolstanton Ltd., [1947] Ch. 92, refd to. [paras. 16, 131].

Paxhaven Holdings Ltd. v. Attorney General, [1974] 2 N.Z.L.R. 185, refd to. [para. 16].

Malone v. Laskey, [1907] 2 K.B. 141 (C.A.), folld. [paras. 17, 39, 66, 98].

Billings (A.C.) & Sons Ltd. v. Riden, [1958] A.C. 240, refd to. [paras. 17, 66].

Cunard v. Antifyre Ltd., [1933] 1 K.B. 551, refd to. [para. 18].

Oldham v. Lawson (No. 1), [1976] V.R. 654, refd to. [para. 18].

Khorasandjian v. Bush, [1993] Q.B. 727 (C.A.), consd. [paras. 18, 41, 69, 101, 134].

Motherwell v. Motherwell (1976), 1 A.R. 47; 73 D.L.R.(3d) 62 (C.A.), not folld. [paras. 19, 41, 70, 98, 134].

Foster v. Warblington Urban District Council, [1906] 1 K.B. 648 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 20, 41, 64, 98, 131].

MacNeill et al. v. Devon Lumber Co. (1987), 82 N.B.R.(2d) 319; 208 A.P.R. 319; 45 D.L.R.(4th) 300 (C.A.), not folld. [paras. 26, 104].

Ruxley Electronics and Construction Ltd. v. Forsyth, [1996] A.C. 344; 185 N.R. 241 (H.L.), refd to. [paras. 37, 73, 97].

Bone v. Seale, [1975] 1 W.L.R. 797 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 45, 73].

Rust v. Victoria Graving Dock Co. & London & St. Katharine Dock Co. (1887), 36 Ch. D. 113 (C.A.), refd to. [paras. 46, 75, 96].

Leakey v. National Trust, [1980] Q.B. 485, refd to. [para. 50].

Asher v. Whitlock (1865), L.R. 1 Q.B. 1, refd to. [para. 65].

Allan v. Liverpool Overseers; Inman v. West Derby Union Assessment Com­mittee & Kirkdale Overseers (1874), L.R. 9 Q.B. 180 (D.C.), refd to. [para. 65].

Donoghue v. Stevenson, [1932] A.C. 562 (H.L.), refd to. [paras. 66, 130].

Metropolitan Properties v. Jones, [1939] 2 All E.R. 202, refd to. [para. 68].

St. Helen's Smelting Co. v. Tipping (1865), 11 H.L.C. 642, refd to. [paras. 70, 96].

Wilkinson v. Downton, [1897] 2 Q.B. 57, refd to. [para. 78].

Janvier v. Sweeney, [1919] 2 K.B. 316, refd to. [para. 78].

Copoc et al. v. Chief Constable of the South Yorkshire Police, [1992] 2 All E.R. 65; 131 N.R. 194 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 78].

Bryant v. Lefever (1879), 4 C.P.D. 172, refd to. [para. 85].

Bury v. Pope (1588), Cro. Eliz. 118, refd to. [para. 85].

Webb v. Bird (1861), 10 C.B.N.S. 268, refd to. [para. 86].

Overseas Tankship (U.K.) Ltd. v. Miller Steamship Co. (Wagon Mound 2), [1967] 1 A.C. 617 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 94].

Goldman v. Hargrave, [1967] 1 A.C. 645 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 94].

Cambridge Water Co. v. Eastern Counties Leather plc, [1994] 2 A.C. 264; 162 N.R. 301 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 95].

Paterson v. Gas Light & Coke Co., [1896] 2 Ch. 476 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 98].

R. v. Tao, [1977] Q.B. 141 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 98].

Street v. Mountford, [1985] A.C. 809; 61 N.R. 202 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 98].

Arrondelle v. United Kingdom (1982), 26 D.R. 5 (F. Sett.), refd to. [para. 102].

Lopez Ostra v. Spain (1994), 20 E.H.R.R. 277, refd to. [para. 102].

Stoakes v. Brydges, [1958] Q.W.N. 9 (Aus.), refd to. [para. 103].

Wiggins v. Moskins Credit Clothing Store (1956), 137 F. Supp. 764 (Car.), refd to. [para. 103].

Hosmer v. Republic Iron & Steel Co. (1913), 60 South. 801 (Al.), refd to. [para. 106].

Bowers v. Westvaco Corp. (1992), 419 S.E.2d 661 (Va.), refd to. [para. 107].

Martin Davies Case (1990), 20 W.A.L.R. 129, refd to. [para. 113].

Mint v. Good, [1951] 1 K.B. 517 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 113].

Jacobs v. London County Council, [1950] A.C. 361 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 113].

Hale v. Jennings Brothers, [1938] 1 All E.R. 179 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 114].

Benning v. Wong (1969), 122 C.L.R. 249, refd to. [para. 114].

Midwood & Co. v. Manchester Corp., [1905] 2 K.B. 597, refd to. [para. 115].

Moss v. Christchurch Rural District Coun­cil, [1925] 2 K.B. 750, refd to. [para. 115].

Halsey v. Esso Petroleum Co., [1961] 1 W.L.R. 683, refd to. [para. 115].

British Celanese Ltd. v. Hunt (A.H.)(Capacitors) Ltd., [1969] 1 W.L.R. 159, refd to. [para. 115].

Howard Electric Ltd. v. Mooney (A.J.) Ltd., [1974] 2 N.Z.L.R. 762, refd to. [para. 115].

People (ex rel. Hoogasian) v. Sears, Roebuck & Co. (1972), 58 A.L.R.3d 1136 (Ill. Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 119].

United States v. Causby (1946), 328 U.S. 256 (U.S. Sup. Ct.), refd to. [para. 121].

Richmond Brothers Inc. v. Hagemann (1971), 268 N.E.2d 680 (Mass.), refd to. [para. 121].

Christie v. Davey, [1893] 1 Ch. 316, refd to. [para. 123].

Hollywood Silver Fox Farm Ltd. v. Emmett, [1936] 2 K.B. 468, refd to. [para. 123].

Manitoba (Attorney General) and Swan Valley Municipal Airport Commission et al. v. Campbell (1983), 24 Man.R.(2d) 70; 26 C.C.L.T. 168 (Q.B.), varied [1985] 4 W.W.R. 334; 34 Man.R.(2d) 20 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 123].

Wheeler v. Saunders (J.J.) Ltd., [1996] Ch. 19, refd to. [para. 124].

Gillingham Borough Council v. Medway (Chatham) Dock Co., [1993] Q.B. 343, refd to. [para. 126].

Harvie v. Robertson (1903), 5 F. 338 (Scot.), refd to. [para. 133].

Authors and Works Noticed:

American Law Institute, Restatement of the Law of Torts, generally [para. 107]; s. 821E [para. 105].

Cheshire and Burn, Modern Law of Real Property (15th Ed. 1994), p. 26 [para. 65].

Clerk and Lindsell on Torts (17th Ed. 1995), para. 18-39 [paras. 34, 108].

Concise Oxford Dictionary [para. 109].

Fleming, John G., The Law of Torts (8th Ed. 1992), pp. 416 [para. 15]; 426 [para. 108].

Gearty, Conor, The Place of Private Nuisance in a Modern Law of Torts, [1989] C.L.J. 214, generally [para. 23].

Harris, O'Boyle and Warbick, Law of the European Convention on Human Rights (1995), p. 319 [para. 102].

Linden, Allen M., Canadian Tort Law (5th Ed. 1993), pp. 521 to 522 [para. 108].

Markesinis and Deakin, Tort Law (3rd Ed. 1994), pp. 434 to 435 [para. 108].

Newark, The Boundaries of Nuisance (1949), 65 L.Q.R. 480, generally [para. 23]; pp. 481, 482, 488, 489 [para. 15]; n. 55 [para. 113].

Prosser and Keeton on Torts (5th Ed. 1984)(Supp. 1988), pp. 621 to 622 [paras. 27, 105].

Salmond and Heuston, The Laws of Torts (21st Ed. 1996), p. 63, n. 96 [para. 108].

Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia, vol. 14, para. 2019 [para. 129].

Todd, Stephen M.D., The Law of Torts in New Zealand (2nd Ed. 1997), p. 537 [para. 108].

Winfield and Jolowicz on Tort (14th Ed. 1994), pp. 419 to 420 [para. 108].

Counsel:

Daniel Brennan, Q.C., Charles Pugh and Sarah Moor, for the original appel­lants/respondents, Hunter et al.;

Lord Irvine of Lairg, Q.C., Philip Havers, Q.C., and Daniel Stilitz, for the original respondents, Canary Wharf and London Docklands.

Agents:

Leigh Day & Co., for the original appel­lants/respondents, Hunter et al.;

Ashhurst Morris Crisp, for the original respondents, Canary Wharf and London Docklands.

This appeal was heard on October 21 to 23, 1996, by Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Cooke of Thorndon and Lord Hope of Craighead, of the House of Lords.

The decision of the court was delivered on April 24, 1997, and the following opinions were filed:

Lord Goff of Chieveley - see paragraphs 1 to 29;

Lord Lloyd of Berwick - see paragraphs 30 to 51;

Lord Hoffmann - see paragraphs 52 to 92;

Lord Cooke of Thorndon, dissenting in part - see paragraphs 93 to 127;

Lord Hope of Craighead - see paragraphs 128 to 141.

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10 practice notes
  • Transco plc v. Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, (2003) 315 N.R. 123 (HL)
    • Canada
    • November 19, 2003
    ...500 , refd to. [para. 9]. Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., [1997] A.C. 655 ; 215 N.R. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [paras. 9, 35, 92]. Carstairs v. Taylor (1871), L.R. 6 Exch. 217 , refd to. [paras. 10, 32, 59]. Ross v. Fedden (1872), 26 L.T.......
  • OBG Ltd. et al. v. Allan et al., (2007) 369 N.R. 66 (HL)
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    • May 2, 2007
    ...7 H.L. 757, refd to. [para. 96]. Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., [1997] A.C. 655; 215 N.R. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 99]. Kremen v. Online Classifieds Inc. (2003), 337 F.3d 1024 (9th Cir., D.C. Cir.), refd to. [para. 101]. Rogers v. K......
  • Watkins v. United Kingdom (Home Office), (2006) 349 N.R. 275 (HL)
    • Canada
    • March 29, 2006
    ...74 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 71]. Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., [1997] A.C. 655; 215 N.R. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [para. Smith New Court Securities Ltd. v. Scrimgeour Vickers (Asset Management Ltd.) et al., [1997] A.C. 254; 206 N.R. 30 (H.......
  • MacQueen et al. v. Nova Scotia et al., (2013) 338 N.S.R.(2d) 133 (CA)
    • Canada
    • Nova Scotia Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • December 4, 2013
    ...2000 SCC 24, refd to. [para. 99]. Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., [1997] A.C. 655; 215 N.R. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [para. Fulawka v. Bank of Nova Scotia (2012), 293 O.A.C. 204; 2012 ONCA 443, refd to. [para. 123]. Williams v. Mutual Life ......
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10 cases
  • Transco plc v. Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, (2003) 315 N.R. 123 (HL)
    • Canada
    • November 19, 2003
    ...500 , refd to. [para. 9]. Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., [1997] A.C. 655 ; 215 N.R. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [paras. 9, 35, 92]. Carstairs v. Taylor (1871), L.R. 6 Exch. 217 , refd to. [paras. 10, 32, 59]. Ross v. Fedden (1872), 26 L.T.......
  • OBG Ltd. et al. v. Allan et al., (2007) 369 N.R. 66 (HL)
    • Canada
    • May 2, 2007
    ...7 H.L. 757, refd to. [para. 96]. Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., [1997] A.C. 655; 215 N.R. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 99]. Kremen v. Online Classifieds Inc. (2003), 337 F.3d 1024 (9th Cir., D.C. Cir.), refd to. [para. 101]. Rogers v. K......
  • Watkins v. United Kingdom (Home Office), (2006) 349 N.R. 275 (HL)
    • Canada
    • March 29, 2006
    ...74 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 71]. Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., [1997] A.C. 655; 215 N.R. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [para. Smith New Court Securities Ltd. v. Scrimgeour Vickers (Asset Management Ltd.) et al., [1997] A.C. 254; 206 N.R. 30 (H.......
  • MacQueen et al. v. Nova Scotia et al., (2013) 338 N.S.R.(2d) 133 (CA)
    • Canada
    • Nova Scotia Court of Appeal of Nova Scotia (Canada)
    • December 4, 2013
    ...2000 SCC 24, refd to. [para. 99]. Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., [1997] A.C. 655; 215 N.R. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [para. Fulawka v. Bank of Nova Scotia (2012), 293 O.A.C. 204; 2012 ONCA 443, refd to. [para. 123]. Williams v. Mutual Life ......
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