Issue date: 26 February 2014
The Supreme Court handed down a judgment in the case of Lawrence v Coventry this morning, concerning common law environmental protection and, in particular, the common law of nuisance. The judgment contains a favourable citation of a recent book by Law Department scholar Dr Ben Pontin, called Nuisance Law and Environmental Protection (Lawtext Publishing Ltd, Oxford, 2013).
Lord Carnwath had this to say about the book at the beginning of his judgment, “Ben Pontin in his valuable recent book Nuisance Law and Environmental Protection (2013) shows how since the middle of the 19th Century common law nuisance has played an important complementary role to regulatory controls, on the Page 47, one hand stimulating industry to find better technical solutions to environmental problems, and, on the other, stimulating the legislature to fill gaps in the regulatory system. He sees the present appeal as an important opportunity for the Supreme Court to review the proper role of this part of the law of nuisance in the modern world (p 184).”
Ben says, “It is extremely flattering to be mentioned in the highest appellate court and I am very grateful. It's the first time for me. Indeed, it is quite rare for specific works of scholarship to be singled out by judges in deciding the law, for academics are not as such “precedents”. Indeed, it was not that long ago that the work of an academic could not be cited in their lifetime. This makes it difficult for legal academics to demonstrate the impact of their research, but it is possible.
For a full text of the judgment, see: http://supremecourt.uk/decided-cases/docs/UKSC_2012_0076_Judgment.pdf