Injunctions: more flexibility about awarding damages instead of an injunction

By Robin Biela

The Supreme Court has commented on the test for awarding damages instead of an injunction (Coventry v Lawrence [2014] UKSC 13). While the case concerned a complaint about noise nuisance, the judgment will be relevant as to whether the court will award damages instead of an injunction where a developer infringes a neighbour’s right of light.

The case strongly criticises the recent tendency to mechanically apply existing principles and award an injunction rather than damages. Instead, the Supreme Court suggests that courts should adopt a more flexible approach when awarding a remedy. If the approach suggested by the Supreme Court is adopted in practice, it is likely that fewer injunctions will be granted and that damages will become a more common alternative remedy.

In previous cases, the courts have worked on the principle that an injunction will be awarded unless there are exceptional reasons not to…

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