Part A – Case Note

CITATION

Miller v. Jackson [1977] 1 QB 966

Court of Appeal – three Lords Justice, Lord Justice Denning as Master of the Rolls (M.R.), Lord Justices Geoffrey Lane and Cumming-Bruce

STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS

The land is leased to a cricket club, by the owners, for the purpose of playing cricket. The enjoyment of the land, by the cricket club, has been in place for a period of 70 years. The adjoining land was sold for development – a housing development. Since the houses were built, thirteen cricket balls have travelled over the fence into the gardens of the housing development occupants. The act of playing cricket is causing nuisance in the new development, while the neighbours attempt to enjoy their land. Although remedy was offered by the appellants in the way of louvered shutters and unbreakable glass windows, this was not accepted by the respondents. The cricket club extended the fence from 6 ft to just less than 15ft and one ball has gone over the fence into the garden of the respondents since that time. There was not, at the date of hearing the case, a situation of personal injury caused by the cricket balls going over the fence and into the gardens of the adjoining land.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The original case was heard in the High Court of Justice, Nottingham by Judge Trevor Reeve. The judge found in favour of the plaintiffs and awarded damages of £174.14 - £24.14 special damages and £150 being £30 per year for five years for personal inconvenience and interference with the enjoyment of the plaintiff’s home. An injunction was also granted to stop cricket being played. The defendants have appealed to the Court of Appeal.

GROUNDS FOR THE APPEAL/ISSUES TO BE DECIDED

The Court of Appeal needed to consider whether the cricket club is guilty of negligence by not reasonably avoiding harm of their neighbour and having cricket balls go into the garden of their neighbour and/or nuisance by not allowing their neighbour to enjoy their land while cricket is being played. The Court also needed to consider whether the injunction to stop the cricket club playing cricket was appropriate in the circumstances. An issue to be decided is whether, even though the appellants extended the fence from 6 ft to 14 ft, balls will still go over the fence into the garden of the respondents, impacting the ability for the respondents to enjoy their land. Have the defendants taken reasonable care for the safety of their neighbour?

Part A (cont.)

SUMMARY OF COURTS ANALYSIS OF THE LAW

Lord Denning considered this to be a new case and applied Sedleigh-Denfield v. O’Callaghan [1940] A.C. 880, 903 to nuisance in this case finding that the playing of cricket is the most reasonable use of the land and cannot be considered nuisance when it was not a nuisance before the houses were built. For the injunction to be appropriate remedy, the defendants must be guilty of nuisance. Lord Denning distinguished Sturges v. Bridgman, (1879) 11 Ch.D. 852 as old law and not applicable to this case. An injunction could only be sought were the defendants were guilty of nuisance which was not the case.

On the matter of negligence, Geoffrey Lane L.J. considered Latimer v. A.E.C. Ltd. [1953] A.C. 643 where the defendants had done everything reasonable to prevent injury. In this case though, he stated it was ‘a continuing failure to prevent incidents, coupled with the certainty they are going to happen.’ Therefore the defendants would be guilty of negligence. In relation to nuisance, Geoffrey Lane L.J. applied Sturges v. Bridgman, 11 Ch.D. 852. This was a similar case where one person was using his land without negligence or nuisance to anyone for 20 years, until his neighbour built an adjoining room and the activities were then considered to be nuisance. On this basis, the cricket club is guilty of nuisance. Cumming-Bruce L.J. concurred and extended Raphael v. Thames Valley Railway Co. (1866) L.R. 2 Eq. 37, 46 to consider the public interests regarding the injunction. Sedleigh-Denfield v. O’Callaghan [1940] A.C. 880, 903 was also considered to provide balance of the public and private interests.

PRINCIPLE OF LAW TO BE APPLIED

The risk of injury must be balanced against what would need to be done, to eliminate a problem, and what a person could reasonably be expected to do to prevent accidents from happening. A balance also needs to be maintained between public and private interest. Consideration of whether there was an unreasonable interference with the plaintiff’s enjoyment of their land and where potential physical damage was likely in the future. A person cannot bring nuisance on themselves by coming to live so close to a person that they would inevitably be affected by another person’s actions.

DESCRIPTION OF HOW LAW APPLIED TO THE FACTS

Cumming-Bruce L.J. indicated that the defendants were negligent due to a continuing failure to prevent incidents from happening. He also indicated that while the club continued to play cricket, they would not be able to prevent injury from happening. The public’s interest was also considered as cricket was a pastime for the whole village. This was weighed against the interests of the individual’s right to enjoy their land free of nuisance. Despite increasing the height of the fence, it is inevitable that cricket balls will still go over the fence which, in turn, creates a danger for the occupants of the adjoining land.

DECISION

The defendants are guilty of negligence for not being able to prevent the risk of injury or damage. The defendants are guilty of nuisance, due to ratio decidendi from a previous case – Sturges v Bridgman, 11 Ch.D. 852. The plaintiff’s moving into a house so close to a cricket ground does not stop the defendants from causing nuisance. The injunction was reversed.

ORDER MADE BY THE COURT

Appeal allowed. Past and future damages increased to £400. There is no order for costs in Court of Appeal or below save legal aid taxation.

SOCIAL OR CULTURAL CONTEXT

It was made clear in this case that cricket played a large role in the community. The Lords Justice considered whether Judge Reeve had properly considered the public’s interest when making his decision. The importance of having such a summer pastime for young and old was valuable to the community.

PART B - Case Law Research

Miller v Jackson [1977] 1 QB 966

Miller v Jackson denotes the name of the case.

[1977] – The year the case was published

1 – Volume Number of the report series for the year

QB – report series abbreviation. Queen’s Bench series of authorised law reports

966 – page number

[1977] 3 All ER 338 and [1977] 3 WLR 20

LexisNexis AU > CaseBase > search case name ‘Miller and Jackson’ > all of the citations for the case are listed under the case name heading

Click on the hyperlinks available for each of the citations under case name heading > [1977] 3 WLR 20. This citation provided me with the full judgment.

Lexis Nexis

Queensland Reports

Northern Territory Reports

Australian Capital Territory Reports

Legal Online

Commonwealth Law Reports

Federal Court Reports

New South Wales Law Reports

Australian cases ‘followed’ or ‘applied’

Citation of your assigned case

(in correct AGLC style)

Source/s used to update your case e.g. CaseBase Cases

Citation of the subsequent case

(in correct AGLC style)

Treatment (followed/applied)

Miller v Jackson [1977] 1 QB 966

CaseBase Cases

Champagne View Pty Ltd v Shearwater Resort Management Pty Ltd [2000] VSC 214

Applied

FirstPoint through LegalOnline

Part B (cont.)

Case citation

(in correct AGLC format)

Brief outline of your search strategy (including the case law research product consulted)

Elston v Dore (1982) 149 CLR 480

FirstPoint > Cases (heading) > searched for private nuisance, also Jurisdiction ‘Commonwealth of Australia’ and Court ‘High Court of Australia’ > Reported Cases only

Fanigun Pty Ltd v Woolworths Limited [2006] 2 Qd R 366

LexisNexis AU > Queensland Reports > searched Jurisdiction ‘Queensland’ and Court ‘QLD Supreme Court’

Both of these cases are available on AustLII. I went to the AustLII database @ USQ Library and searched for both cases in Boolean format with the parties names and got 100% for each.

Authorised law reports are authorised by the judiciary to publish whereas on the internet, these have not received any authority to publish and therefore may not be relied upon as unequivocally as the authorised reports.

Part C – Secondary Sources, Annotated Bibliography and Reflections

Books & the Library Catalogue

Citation: John Carvan, Understanding the Australian Legal System (Lawbook Co., 4th ed, 2002) ch 1.

Search process: USQ Library > Books, DVD’s & more > Title: ‘precedent’ > Location: Springfield

Author – John Carvan

Title of the book – Understanding the Australian Legal System

Edition number – 4th edition

Publication Year – 2002

Publisher – Thomson Legal & Regulatory Limited trading as Lawbook Co.

Part C (cont.)

Legal Dictionaries & Encyclopaedias

Search process: USQ Library > Journals and databases > Subject : Law > LexisNexis AU > Halsbury’s Laws of Australia > search terms: the doctrine of precedent > 1. (D) Conditions for bringing on an International Claim

Encyclopaedia publisher – LexisNexis AU

Encyclopaedia name - Halbury’s Laws of Australia

Title number & name – 215 – Foreign Relations

Sub-title number & name – (7) State Responsibility and Aliens

Paragraph number – 215-760

Currency – 03 December 2008

Journal Articles

Search process: Legal Online > Journals (heading) > entered Case Name ‘miller and jackson’ & citation ‘1 QB 966’

Article Author – Karinne Ludlow

Article Title – Genetically Modified Organisms and Private Nuisance Liability

Year of Publication – 2005

Volume Issue Number – 13

Journal Title – Tort Law Review

Starting Page Number – 92

Annotated Bibliography

Carvan, John, Understanding the Australian Legal System (Lawbook, 4th ed, 2002)

I located this item through the USQ Library database and searched in the print collection. I viewed this item on Saturday, 28 August 2010. This is an introductory law textbook with the main topics being given about the different kinds of law e.g. taxation and industrial law. The author has indicated that the intended audience is for first year students of law. The item was published in 2002. The nature of the chapter I sighted is still current as the foundation of law, the common law, has not changed. The author taught introductory and commercial law at two Australian universities. The publishers are well regarded and own the law database ‘Legal Online’. I didn’t find that I learnt anything new from reading this chapter, as we have already covered these topics in our own studies. It was a very easy read.

Part C (cont.)

LexisNexis, Halsbury’s Laws of Australia, 3 December 2008, 215 Foreign Relations, ‘7 State Responsibility and Aliens’ [215-760]

I located this item through the USQ Library databases and searched in LexisNexis for Halbury’s Laws of Australia then searched for ‘the doctrine of precedent’. I viewed this item on Saturday, 28 August 2010. The focus of this particular paragraph is in relation to a country making a diplomatic claim for a person who is their citizen and provides details about how the local laws should first be exhausted before intervention by the country. The paragraph is current as at 3 December 2008. The information in this paragraph was supported by a number of other sources e.g. references to relevant cases. I found the information very interesting, I personally was not aware of the necessity for a country to wait until all other means have been exhausted.

Ludlow, Karinne, ‘Genetically Modified Organisms and Private Nuisance Liability’ (2005) 13 Tort Law Review 92

I located this item by searching through Legal Online using the case name & citation search boxes. I viewed this item on 30 August 2010. Karinne Ludlow is a lecturer of Law at Monash University and the article was published by Lawbook Co., so therefore a reliable reputation. The article is heavily referenced to other sources. The main focus of this article is about the ability of farmers who are not utilising GMO’s and have adjoining land with their neighbours who are, with their own farms being impacted. The article was published in 2005 and I did a little further research and there are current updates about GMO’s in Halbury’s Laws of Australia. I learnt a great deal from this item, it allowed me to see the material facts of my case, regarding nuisance, applied in a different way.

Self Reflection

On reflection, a more detailed and planned approach to this assignment would have been beneficial. I found I kept re-reading the assignment and changing it each time. This was due to my own lack of confidence in my ability to get it right. I really enjoyed this assignment, albeit challenging.