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Tort Law: Text and Materials

Tort Law: Text and Materials (6th edn)

Mark Lunney, Donal Nolan, and Ken Oliphant
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date: 22 April 2024

p. 64812. Nuisance and the Rule in Rylands v Fletcherlocked

p. 64812. Nuisance and the Rule in Rylands v Fletcherlocked

  • Mark Lunney, Mark LunneyProfessor of Law, University of New England in New South Wales
  • Donal NolanDonal NolanProfessor of Private Law. Francis Reynolds and Clarendon Fellow and Tutor at Worcester College, University of Oxford
  •  and Ken OliphantKen OliphantDirector of the Institute for European Tort Law, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna


This chapter examines the two forms of nuisance action in modern law: public and private nuisance. Public nuisance is a crime which may give rise to tort liability. Private nuisance protects an occupier's right to use and enjoy her land free from unreasonable interferences. The chapter also discusses the rule in Rylands v Fletcher, which holds that where there has been an escape of a dangerous thing in the course of a non-natural use of land, the occupier is liable for damage to the property of another caused by the escape. This is so irrespective of whether the occupier has been at fault.

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