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PropertyTuesday 2 July 2024

Supreme Court decision in Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v United Utilities Water Ltd (no.2) [2024] UKSC 22

The Supreme Court handed down judgment in Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd v United Utilities Water Ltd (No. 2) [2024] UKSC 22 on 2nd July.

James McCreath appeared with Jonathan Karas KC (Falcon Chambers), James Maurici KC and Richard Moules KC (Landmark Chambers) representing United Utilities and instructed by Pinsent Masons.

The Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeal’s judgment and held that where foul water was discharged into watercourses a common law claim for nuisance could be maintained. The Court, however, made clear that whether injunctive relief would follow would require consideration of the impact of such relief on the applicable regulatory framework. The Supreme Court also rejected the submission that Marcic v Thames Water plc [2003] UKHL 66 should be overruled: so, the only remedy for sewer flooding due to the inadequacy of sewerage infrastructure as described in Marcic was through the regulatory framework under the Water Industry Act 1991.

The judgment contains an important review of the law of nuisance and the case law dealing with the discharge of foul water into watercourses.

Read the full judgment here

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