Christie v Davey – Case Summary

Christie v Davey

High Court

Citations: [1892 C 3775]; [1893] 1 Ch 316.

Facts

The claimant lived next door to the defendant. The defendant was a music teacher. Their houses were joined by a single wall, and the claimant could sometimes hear the music lessons and the defendant practising her singing. The claimant complained that the noise was becoming excessive, but the defendant refused to reduce her activities. The claimant responded by deliberately making loud and annoying noises near the party wall during the defendant’s lessons and at other times.

Issue(s)
  1. Were the claimant’s deliberate attempts to annoy the defendant a nuisance?
  2. Were the defendant’s musical activities a nuisance?
Decision

The Court held in favour of the defendant. The musical activities were not a nuisance because they were reasonable in duration and volume. However, the Court held that the defendant was entitled to an injunction against the claimant restraining them from deliberately making annoying noises.

This Case is Authority For…

The fact that a party is acting maliciously is a strong indicator that their use of the land is not reasonable for the purposes of nuisance. It will generally not be reasonable to use one’s land deliberately for the purpose of annoying neighbours.

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