Why Christie v Davey is important
In Christie v Davey, the Court awarded an injunction against the defendant for nuisance, because their malicious motives to cause the claimant discomfort meant their actions were not legitimate.
Christie was a music teacher who used to take classes at her home. The defendant, living in the adjoining house, became irritated by the sounds. In response, he therefore maliciously caused interrupted and disturbed the claimant by beating trays, whistling, and shouting during lessons.
The claimant filed a case claiming that the noise created by the defendant disturbed the comfort of her family. The defendant counter-claimed, arguing the noise Christie’s music created constituted nuisance.
Whether the actions of the defendant constituted nuisance or not?
The court granted an injunction ordering that the defendant stops making unreasonable and deliberate noises to interrupt the claimant. They did not, however, stop him from making noises that a reasonable household may make.
The Court held that the defendant’s actions did constitute nuisance. This was because he was acting in malice to disturb the claimant, which they held was not a ‘legitimate kind’ of noise. They therefore awarded an injunction against the defendant ‘from making noises in his house so as to vex or annoy the Plaintiffs.’
North J. said
In my opinion, the noises which were made in the defendant’s house were not of legitimate kind. They were what, to use the language of Lord Selbourne in Gaunt v Fynney, ought to be regarded as excessive and unreasonable. I am satisfied that they were made deliberately and maliciously for the purpose to annoy the plaintiff. If what has taken an entirely different view of the case. But I am persuaded that was done by defendant was done only for the purpose of annoyance, and in my opinion, it was not a legitimate use of defendants house to use for the purpose of vexing and annoying the neighbors.