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Miller v Jackson [1977]3 WLR 20 Court of Appeal

The defendants were members of the Lintz Cricket Club. Cricket had been played at Lintz cricket ground for over 70 years. The land was owned by the National Coal Board (NCB) who also owned some fields surrounding the grounds. Four years prior to the action, the NCB sold one of the fields and a development of Wimpey homes was put up in close proximity to the cricket ground. Mrs Miller purchased one of the houses and brought an action against the cricket club seeking an injunction to prevent them playing cricket at the ground. Initially quite a number of balls were hit over the houses. However, in 1976 the cricket club erected a higher fence and the number of balls hit out was reduced to nine over a two year period.  There had been no personal injuries resulting from the balls but some property damage had been caused which the cricket club had paid for. Mrs Miller complained that she could not use her garden during matches and would often stay out of the house altogether.

Held:

The defendants were liable in both negligence and nuisance (Lord Denning dissenting)

However, Cumming Bruce LJ refused the injunction on the grounds that it would be inequitable to grant an injunction given that the cricket ground had been used for so long and would be a loss to the community and Mrs Miller received the benefit of being adjacent to an open space.

Lord Lane would have granted the injunction stating that the decision in Sturges v Bridgeman involves the assumption that it is no defence for the defendant to show that they came to the nuisance.
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