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   Case summaries      Robinson v Kilvert

Robinson v Kilvert (1889) 41 Ch D 88   Court of Appeal

The defendant carried on a  business of making paper boxes.  This required a warm dry atmosphere. The defendant operated from the basement of their premises and let out the ground floor to the claimant. The claimant used the premises for storage of brown paper. The heat generated from the defendant’s operations damaged the brown paper belonging to the claimant.


The defendant was not liable. The damage was due to the special sensitivity of the paper.

Cotton LJ:

"It would, in my opinion, be wrong to say that the doing something not in itself noxious is a nuisance because it does harm to some particular trade in the adjoining property, although it would not prejudicially affect any ordinary trade carried on there, and does not interfere with the ordinary enjoyment of life. Here it is shewn that ordinary paper would not be damaged by what the Defendants are doing, but only a particular kind of paper, and it is not shewn that there is heat such as to incommode the workpeople on the Plaintiff's premises. I am of the opinion, therefore, that the Plaintiff is not entitled to relief on the ground that what the Defendants are doing is a nuisance."

Lopes LJ:

"I think the Plaintiff cannot complain of what is being done as a nuisance. A man who carries on an exceptionally delicate trade cannot complain because it is injured by his neighbour doing something lawful on his property, if it is something which would not injure anything but an exceptionally delicate trade."
Back to lecture outline on nuisance in tort law