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Injunction?

This page considers four cases where the court considered whether to grant an injunction or instead damages in lieu where there had been a breach of the right to light. The most important case is the CA decision in Regan. The most dramatic is the last, HKRUK II


Midtown


Midtown Ltd v City of London Real Property Company Ltd

[2005] EWHC 33 (Ch)

The defendant wished to carry out a substantial development, which the claimants asserted would interfere with their right to light to a substantial degree and cause a nuisance. The court held that the claimants did have a right to light in respect of certain parts of the property (but not all) but refused to grant an injunction. Damages would be an adequate remedy in the particular circumstances of the case. The infringement suffered by the claimants could be compensated by damages and an injunction would be oppressive to the defendant to prevent it from carrying out the development. One of the arguments raised by the defendant was that only artificial light was being used in any event. This was rejected as an argument on the question of whether or not the right to light was infringed but was relevant to the question of the injuction (Jaggard v Sawyer [1995] 2 All ER 189 applied). The first claimant (Midtown) was the freeholder of the property and the second claimant (Kendall Freeman) was the lessee in actual occupation. Peter Smith J:
    "Looking at it from Midtown's point of view, it seems to me that it is not appropriate for Midtown to obtain an injunction. First, it was only interested in the Property from a money making point of view. If the value of the Property has been diminished, it can be compensated and is capable of calculation. Second, there is probably no present loss, because of the existing lease in its favour, which will be unaffected by the infringement of the easements of light in respect of the windows. Third, it seems to me that it has in mind redevelopment proposals of its own, which would likely make the injunction academic. Fourth, I am quite satisfied on the correspondence that the Defendants behaved reasonably and openly in flagging up the issue and suggested meetings to discuss matters and were rebuffed unreasonably by both Midtown and Kendall Freeman. (Para 76)

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