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UCL Centre for Law and Environment


UCL Laws


Archive for the 'Regulation and tort' Category

Reflections on nuisance and regulation

By Maria Lee, on 18 August 2014

15 September 2014, 3.30 – 6.30pm (drinks from 6.30)

Chaired by The Rt Hon The Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill and Professor Paul Mitchell (UCL)

The place of regulatory decisions in private nuisance is of enormous practical significance, for litigators, planners, businesses and communities. It also highlights broader, persistent questions about the relative roles of courts and administrative bodies in the generation and enforcement of appropriate social (including environmental) standards, and in the distribution of risks, opportunities, costs and benefits. In this seminar Maria Lee (UCL) will talk on Nuisance and the complexity of regulation; Eloise Scotford (Dickson Poon School of Law) on Private nuisance, regulation and the nature of property rights: an evolving legal story; Ben Pontin (University of the West of England) on The co-evolution of nuisance and environmental regulation; Jenny Steele (University of York) on “An unduly moralistic approach to disputes”? Monetary remedies for nuisance after Coventry v Lawrence; and Justine Thornton (39 Essex Street) on The role of public nuisance in environmental pollution control.

Scotford Thornton Pontin

Supreme Court on nuisance and planning

By Maria Lee, on 19 March 2014

The Supreme Court handed down an important decision on the relationship between private nuisance and planning permission on 26 February, citing publications by a member of the UCL Centre for Law and the Environment.

In broad terms, the tort of nuisance addresses the reasonable use and enjoyment of land. The paradigm private nuisance is perhaps a case of noise or smells from industrial or commercial activities, although a nuisance can also take the form of physical harm to property or encroachment on the claimant’s land (for example by tree roots). Many of the activities challenged in private nuisance have been granted planning permission, raising profound practical and constitutional questions about the relationship between the regulatory state and the courts. (more…)

Regulation and tort

By Maria Lee, on 13 November 2012

Professor Maria Lee is working on the relationship between tort and regulation. Environmental protection is a public interest dominated by a complex and more or less comprehensive system of state and supranational regulation. But this is also the realm of private law, since individual rights or interests (eg property, physical integrity, amenity) may be affected by the regulation itself or by a regulated activity. What happens when these areas of law meet is unclear, particularly how the regulatory decision should feed into the determination and protection of rights and interests in private law.

Topical examples with the potential for private and public interests and law to meet include windfarms and airports (as well as many more mundane cases), where regulatory decisions about location and operation are taken in what the regulator or government has determined to be the public interest. Individuals who find their health, amenity or property adversely affected may turn to the private law of tort for protection. Regulatory norms and processes at their best strike a reasoned balance between various, sometimes conflicting, public or collective interests, and at their best will also have considered the impact of desirable activities on private rights and interests. The operation of private law may disrupt these careful regulatory arrangements; but without private law, individual rights and interests may be inadequately protected