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Review Your SQE 1 Practice Records

Examination Timing: 00H00M01S

Neighbour 1 lives above Neighbour 2 in a block of four flats. Neighbour 1's flat has wooden flooring, and the noise of her and her family can regularly be heard by Neighbour 2. Neighbour 2 is fed up with the noise and decides to throw a party to forget about the noise for one evening. Neighbour 3, who lives across the hall from Neighbour 2, trips over a box of wine left by a partygoer on the way to complain about the party noise on behalf of all the residents in the block, and injures himself. What is the best description of the liability in nuisance, if any, of Neighbour 1 and Neighbour 2?

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The party is unlikely to give rise to an action in public or private nuisance, but the noise of Neighbour 1 and her family may be actionable if it constitutes excessive rather than everyday activity. Public nuisance requires the nuisance to affect a significant number of people or a particular class of the public. In this case, only three households are affected, which is unlikely to meet this threshold. Private nuisance involves an unlawful interference with the use or enjoyment of land. Persistent noise from Neighbour 1 may qualify as private nuisance if it is excessive and unreasonable, but a one-off party is less likely to constitute nuisance unless it is extremely disruptive. 

Key Point: Public nuisance affects a significant number of people or a particular class of the public, while private nuisance involves persistent and unreasonable interference with the use or enjoyment of land. 

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