Definition of Nuisance

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A nuisance consists of an act or omission which amounts to an unreasonable interference with other peoples rights as defined in Connolly V South of Ireland Asphalt Co.

If the rights that are interfered with belong to a person as a member of the public, the act or omission is a public nuisance. If the rights that are  interfered with relate to the ownership or occupation of land, or some other easement, profit or other right enjoyed in connection then the acts or omissions amount to a private nuisance. 

An omission or not carrying out an act can equally cause a public nuisance. This is seen in the case of Sedleigh V O’Callaghan. In this case  the local authority inserted a pipe partially on the defendant’s property without their consent or knowledge. Unfortunately, the pipe was blocked by debris carried along the ditch by rain water and flooded the plaintiff’s property. As the pipe was not removed, the Court found that the defendants were liable as they created a nuisance by omitting to remove the risk.

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