0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Limited

12 February 2002
The issues

Public utilities – Human Rights – nuisance.

The facts

The Claimant’s house was damaged by flooding following a failure by Thames Water to carry out repair works to sewers near to the property. Following Glossop -v- Heston (1879) the Judge decided that the Claimant had no cause of action at common law or any action for breach of statutory duty. However, there was a claim for a breach of a Claimant’s Article 8 Convention Rights for the period after the implementation of the Act. Damages were awarded in respect of that period of time. Both parties appealed.

The decision

1. The Judge was correct in finding that the Claimant had no action for breach of statutory duty.

2. The sewers were adequate when constructed. They had become inadequate because of their increased use over the years.

3. Applying Goldman -v- Hargrove and Leakey -v- National Trust, Thames had a duty to the Claimant to take reasonable steps to prevent the discharge of surface and foul water onto the Claimant’s property since they were operating the system for profit, in circumstances where they knew or should have known of the hazard. They were in no better position than a land-owner on whose property a hazard had accumulated by the act of a trespasser or by nature.

4. There was nothing in Glossop to prevent a claim in nuisance and at common law. This action was not a veiled attempt to make the Defendant perform a statutory duty. Thames had not demonstrated that it was not practicable for it to prevent the nuisance. They had argued that they had a system of resource-dependent priorities. The Court did not accept that a body with the Defendant’s resources could rely on lack of resources to justify doing nothing. Anyway, their system of priorities was not reasonable. What the Court (perhaps unfortunately?) referred to as the “Leakey” Defence could not therefore be made out. Accordingly, Thames was liable for the nuisance over the entire period of the claim.

The right to damages displaced any right under the Human Rights Act but otherwise the Court agreed that there had been an infringement.

focus on...

Legal updates

Contingent loss in negligence claims

Contingent loss is relevant to limitation; specifically, the date at which a claimant’s cause of action accrues for the purposes of a claim in the tort of negligence (as many claims against professional advisers are framed).

View

Legal updates

Legal and regulatory monthly update - September 2019

The latest update covering delegated authority, insurance product development, the senior insurance managers regime, data protection, operational control frameworks, Lloyds market, and horizon scanning.

View

Legal updates

Kuoni referred to the CJEU by Supreme Court for clarification - possible impact on breach of contract, vicarious liability and assumption of responsibility claims for sexual abuse and assault

We were hoping to be able to give you some interesting insights following the judgment of X v Kuoni Travel Ltd but that will have to wait for another day.

View

Legal updates

The disappearance of LIBOR

Companies should undertake a comprehensive review and audit to identify those products and legacy contracts that are LIBOR-linked and carry out an in-depth risk assessment of discontinuation. Where possible, companies should look at appointing an individual to oversee the programme.

View

The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

mailing list sign up



Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up