Holbeck Hall Hotel Ltd and Another v Scarborough Borough Council ; Scarborough Borough Council v Geotechnical Engineering (Northern) Ltd
|England & Wales
|02 October 1997
|02 October 1997
|Official Referees' Court
Before Judge Hicks, QC
Nuisance - landslip - downhill occupier's duty
A person occupying land downhill from his neighbour owed a duty of care to ensure that that neighbour might suffer no damage because of the downhill occupier's nuisance in allowing the collapse of the land through land slip.
Judge Hicks, QC, sitting on official referee's business, so held in granting the application of Holbeck Hall Hotel Ltd and English Rose Hotels (Yorkshire) Ltd for damages for the breach by Scarborough Borough Council of its duty not to cause a nuisance and to take reasonable steps to prevent the risk that the applicants' property would be destroyed through land slip and in dismissing the council's claim against Geotechnical Engineering (Northern) Ltd for an indemnity against any liability arising in the first action.
The plaintiffs' hotel was uphill from council-owned land which collapsed so that the hotel was destroyed. Geotechnical had provided the council with professional advice on preventing the occurrence of land slip at that site.
Mr Christopher Symons, QC and Mr Paul Reed for the hotels; Mr Paul Darling for the council; Mr Bruce Mauleverer, QC and Mr Alexander Nissen for Geotechnical.
HIS LORDSHIP said that it was the plaintiffs' case that in relation to land slip, an occupier of land had the same duty of care to his uphill neighbour as that established (in relation to a downhill neighbour) by( 1 QB 485), that that was a duty which could require the occupier to take positive steps to avert damage to the neighbour and that failure to take such steps could sound in damages.
The plaintiffs did not abandon their claim based on removal of support which had its own distinctive attractions and drawbacks.
In the natural right to support claim there was a recognised right, whereas the existence of thetype of duty was contested, and negligence was not necessarily a condition for liability.
The drawback of the...
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Holbeck Hall Hotel Ltd and Another v Scarborough Borough Council
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