Is malice relevant in Nuisance?

A lawful act does not become unlawful merely because it has been done with a bad motive and unlawful act does not become lawful because it has been done with good motive. This principle has been laid down by the House of Lords in the case of Brandford Corporation v. Pickals. The House of Lord had held that “It is the act, not the motive for the act, that must be regarded. If the act, apart from motive, gives rise merely damage without legal injury, the motive, however, reprehensible it may be, will not supply that element.

In this case the defendant obstructed water flowing in undefined channels beneath his property and affected the supply to the Corporation’s reservoir. He did this with the motive to force the plaintiffs to buy his land at a high price. The House of Lords held that the defendant was not liable and his motive did not make his action lawful. The defendant was making a lawful use of his own land and in such a case motive was immaterial.

Every person has right to use and enjoy his property. But the condition is that the use of property must be done in a lawful manner. Thus if by the use of this property causes harm to others then the use of property will not be recalled a reasonable. In such a case the defendant cannot take the defence that he did not do this with any bad motive. If doing an act by a person, cause inconvenience to others he will be liable even without of malice.

In Christie v. Davoy, the plaintiff and the defendants were neighbours. The plaintiff was a music teacher and used to give music lessons to students in his house. The defendant being irritated by the noise of music lesson given by the defendant with an evil motive to cause discomfort to the plaintiff started by hammering the wall and beating to tray, and whistling and shrieking. The Court restrained the defendant from doing such thing by issuing injunction, because he was doing such thing deliberately and maliciously for the purpose of annoying the plaintiff. North J. said that the defendants had not used his house reasonably. Where the use of property in done with the motive of causing discomfort or inconvenience to a person it becomes a nuisance.

In Holleywood Silver Fox Farm Ltd. v. Emmett. the plaintiff was doing the business of breeding silver foxes on their land. The foxes are extremely nervous during their breeding season and if they are disturbed by any loud noise they may not breed during that season and if they breed they may miscarry or kill their own Mon young ones. The defendants maliciously caused guns to be fired on his own land as near as possible to the breeding pens with a view to cause damage to the plaintiff by interfering with the breeding of foxes. It was held that he was liable because he had used his land with a view to cause damage to the plaintiff, Such use of his own land was not reasonable and therefore, the plaintiff was entitled to damages.

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