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Redland Bricks Ltd v Morris [1970] AC 652

The requirement of the terms of a mandatory injunction

Facts

The claimant was a market gardener who farmed land next to that of the defendant. The defendant used its land to dig for bricks. Over a period between 1964 and 1966, the claimant’s land slipped onto the defendants because of a lack of support. It was considered that to remedy the issue would cost £30,000. At first instance, the claimant was awarded two injunctions. The first of which prevented the defendant from withdrawing support for the claimant’s land, the second requiring the defendant to take all necessary steps to restore support to the claimant’s land within six months. The defendant appealed against the second injunction.

Issue

The issue in this context was whether the second mandatory injunction was valid because it was not specific in its terms.

Held

On appeal, it was held that the second injunction was invalid. Where an injunction requires a defendant to do something, it must set out exactly the terms that are required. It was not sufficient to provide general instructions, especially as in these circumstances, the cost of the work might exceed the £30,000 stated. Furthermore, the defendant was only a potential wrongdoer against the claimant and had, in fact, treated the claimant very reasonably. To this end, it would be unreasonable to expect the defendant to undertake very expensive work, especially since the claimant’s rights in regards of further slips was not in any way limited. In other words, the claimant could seek damages for any future slips that might occur.


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