In the case Scott v Aimiuwu 2015, despite their neighbour’s previous earnest requests to modify the design the defendants built an extension to their house, which interfered with their neighbour’s right to light. The neighbour sought an injunction, but was awarded damages of approximately £31,500.00 instead.
This was the 1st time the question of whether to award damages rather than an injunction for breach of a right to light was aired in court, since the decision in Coventry v Lawrence 2014 (see earlier news item).
In determining the appropriate remedy, the judge took the particular facts into account:-
- The properties were residential
- The affected rooms were a garage, utility room and bathroom which are not considered as primary habitable space
- The level of light lost in each room was significant were but not excessively so
- The extension had already been completed for a while before the case came to Court;
The judge rejected the claim for an injunction as the complainant had not initiated proceedings before construction commenced and the defendant had behaved reasonably throughout. He assessed damages based neither wholly on share of development profit which would have been c. £65,000, nor on diminution in value of the property whose light was reduced which would have been c.£12,000 but took both into account along with other factors including loss of amenity and the behaviour of the parties.
The case does give an indication that judgements might be more pragmatic in similar circumstances going forward.