New Judgment: Coventry & Ors v Lawrence & Anor (No 2)  UKSC 46
23 Wednesday Jul 2014
On appeal from:  EWCA Civ 26
This case relates to a previous Supreme Court case ( UKSC 13), which found the respondents liable for nuisance against the appellants who together owned and occupied a property nearby the respondents’ motorcar racetrack. The Supreme Court ruled to restore the order of the trial judge, which had awarded an injunction against the respondents, limiting the amount of noise emanating from the racetrack and directing them to pay 60% of the appellants’ costs. The order also dismissed the claims in nuisance against the respondents’ landlords and gave permission to the parties to apply to vary the terms of the injunction after a certain date.
In the meantime, the property was damaged by fire and became unoccupied. The Supreme Court was asked by the respondents whether the injunction may be lifted until the property is rebuilt, whether there was a time limitation on the parties applying to vary the terms of the injunction, whether their landlords may also be liable in nuisance and whether the previous costs order was contrary to the respondents’ ECHR, art 6 rights.
The Court held that the injunction ought to be lifted until the property was in a state to be reoccupied unless this would in some way prevent the property from being renovated. Any party had permission to apply to vary or discharge the injunction at any time. The claims in nuisance against the landlords were again dismissed as they had not permitted or participated in the nuisance.
The question as to ECHR, art 6 rights was adjourned for a further hearing. The Court stated that the respondents’ art 6 rights may been infringed in the light of the particular facts and the jurisprudence of the ECtHR. However, notice must first be given to the Attorney-General and the Secretary of State for Justice as it was not clear whether a declaration of incompatibility or another form of relief would be appropriate and in any case no such declaration should be made without the Government being given an opportunity to make representations.