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Crown River Cruises Ltd v Kimbolton Fireworks [1996] 2 Lloyd’s Rep. 533

Nuisance – Fireworks – Physical Damage to Property

Facts

The defendants, Kimbolton Fireworks, carried out a short firework display that lasted for some twenty minutes or so.  As a result of the fireworks display, some burning debris landed on the claimant’s river barge which had been moored on the river on their property, and set fire to it causing it damage.  The area was rural, and the river boat was moored permanently in place.  The claimants sued in private nuisance and the defendants alleged, firstly, that a nuisance could not be constituted in law by an action lasting only twenty minutes, and secondly that as it was a boat that was damaged and not their ‘land’ itself, this was not actionable in nuisance.

Issues

Whether or not a nuisance could be constituted by even an act that was short in duration.  If so, whether or not the claimant’s had a cause of action considering that it was the defendant’s river boat which was damaged rather than the underlying land itself as a result of the nuisance.

Held

The claim was allowed.  There was a nuisance in this particular case even though the firework display only lasted for such as short period of time.  The claimant’s barge was moored permanently in place, and as such it could be considered to be an extension of the claimant’s land.  As this was physically damaged by the defendant’s actions, following St Helen’s Smelting Co v Tippings [1865] 11 HL Cas 642 it could not be said that the locality of the area was a defence to the harm caused.


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