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Why Hollywood Silver Fox Farm Ltd v Emmett is important

In Hollywood Silver Fox Farm Ltd v Emmett, the Court distinguished the case from Robinson v Kilvert and Bradford Corporation v Pickles. In doing so, Macnaghten J awarded the claimant an injunction against the defendant for private nuisance.

Facts

The claimant had a business of breeding silver foxes on their land. Silver foxes are very unstable during their breeding season and if disturbed they may not breed at all, have a miscarriage, or even kill their young ones.

The defendant, from his adjacent property, maliciously fired gunshots to disturb the foxes during the breeding season.

Claim

The claimant filed a suit for injunction against the defendant. Emmett argued that the claimant’s business was unusual and required extraordinary quietness, and therefore his actions were not unreasonable and not nuisance. Furthermore, he argued that it does not matter whether he acted with malicious motives.

Issue

Whether or not the defendant’s actions constituted nuisance.

Held

Macnaghten J granted an injunction against the defendant.

Reasoning

The defendant’s actions were held to be nuisance, irrespective of whether he was using his land in a legitimate manner or not. It was sufficient for the Court that the defendant acted in malice by shooting near the breeding ground. In doing so, Macnaghten J concluded that the House of Lords’ judgment in Bradford Corporation v Pickles had “no bearing on such cases as this”, and had not overturned previous cases such as Christie v Davey.

Similarly, Macnaghten J was not influenced by the specific vulnerability of the foxes.

Therefore, the Court held that the defendant’s actions did constitute private nuisance, and they awarded an injunction against him.

<—– Previous case
Bradford Corporation v Pickles

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