Corby Group Litigation v Corby Borough Council – Case Summary

Corby Group Litigation Claimants v Corby Borough Council

Court of Appeal

Citations: [2008] EWCA Civ 463; [2009] QB 335; [2009] 2 WLR 609; [2009] 4 All ER 44; [2008] CP Rep 32; [2009] Env LR 2.


The claimants were all children born with deformities due to the local council’s development of contaminated land. This development had exposed their mothers’ to toxic fumes during pregnancy. The claimants sued the local council for public nuisance. The local council attempted to have the claim struck out on the grounds that personal injury is not recoverable in nuisance following the decision in Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd [1997] AC 655.

  1. Is personal injury recoverable in public nuisance?

The Court of Appeal held in favour of the claimants and did not strike out the public nuisance claim.

This Case is Authority For…

Personal injury is recoverable in public nuisance. The right protected by public nuisance is the right to not be exposed to activity which harms public health.


Previous cases such as Hunter v Canary Wharf Ltd [1997] AC 655 and Transco Plc v Stockport MBC [2003] UKHL 61 had stated that personal injury was not recoverable in nuisance. The Court of Appeal in this case held that insofar as those statements related to public nuisance (as opposed to private nuisance) they should be treated as obiter and non-binding.