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Castle v St Augustine’s Links [1922] 38 TLR 615

Public Nuisance – Golf – Reoccurrence of Nuisance – Continuous Interference

Facts

The claimant was a taxi driver who had been driving on a road near the St Augstine’s Links course when he was hit in the eye by a golf ball.  The ball had been hit out of the golf course onto the road.  This was a frequent occurrence because one of the holes was sited so close to the road and evidence was given that the balls were consistently leaving the course in this area, making it dangerous to road users. The claimant sued in nuisance.

Issue

Whether or not the repeated instances of golf balls leaving the course constituted a public nuisance on behalf of the golf club.  Whether or not the repeated instances of the golf balls leaving the course as a result of the siting of the hole being so close to the road meant that there was a continuous interference with the rights of a class of persons such as road users in the area.

Held

The repeated instances of golf balls leaving the course and hitting the road were as a result of the golf clubs siting of the hole too close to the road.  The fact that the balls were regularly and repeatedly struck onto the road meant that there was a consistent interference with the amenities of others using the road, and these users could be regarded as an identifiable class of individuals, meaning that the ingredients of a public nuisance were fulfilled.  It was also likely in the circumstances that a court would have been willing to impose a duty of care in tort on the golf club if the claimant had decided to sue in tort. The golf club had committed a public nuisance as a result and were liable to the claimant.


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