Lippiatt v South Gloucestershire CC [1999] 3 WLR 137

Key point

  • Nuisance is not restricted to interference which results from acts committed on the defendant’s land, but also acts committed outside the defendant’s land but using the land as a base.


  • Cs were tenant farmers of land on either side of a main road.
  • Council (D) owned land on the edge of the road.
  • Travellers, who were licensees of D, often trespassed into Cs’ farmland and damaged it.
  • The trial judge struck out the claim on the ground that the activities of the travellers fell outside the tort of nuisance.

Held (Court of Appeal)

  • C’s case was arguable in law and should not have been struck out.

Evans LJ

  • The nature of private nuisance as held by Lord Goff and Lord Lloyd in Hunter v Canary Wharf Limited [1997] AC 655 is that as a general rule some form of “emanation” from the defendant’s land is required.
  • On analysis, what “emanated” in the present case was the travellers themselves, here it was alleged that the travellers used D’s land as a base for their activities.
  • This form of emanation, if excluded, will lead to arbitrary distinctions on what counts as emanation: p. (at p. 60)

Mummery LJ

  • An owner or occupier of land could be liable in nuisance for unlawful activities of his licensees or persons based on his land which took place off his land, where such nuisance consisted of repeated acts committed on C’s land, to D’s knowledge: p. 64