Knocked down or on the up? Developers and the rights of light

In a recent blog post, Gateley discussed the impact a landmark case (Coventry v Lawrence) had upon the law of nuisance. The case was also significant in relation to injunctions and has rewritten the rules in this regard. The law as rewritten will potentially be of relevance to developers and the problem of rights of light.

A developer will be only too aware that a proposed development may infringe adjoining landowners’ rights of light and a balancing exercise needs to be taken as to whether any infringement of those rights of light will be actionable or not. If an actionable breach occurs, then the developer faces the risk of injunction. Following a 2010 case, this risk was highlighted when the developer was ordered to tear down newly constructed floors atop commercial premises.

For more than 100 years, the courts have followed a ‘working rule’ that states that the ‘starting remedy’ for a successful claimant in nuisance claims (which include actionable rights-of-light claims) is an injunction, unless a four-stage test can be satisfied by the defendant, in which case damages in lieu of an injunction should be awarded by the court…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Gateley briefing.

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