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Manchester Ship Canal

Published: Friday 15 March 2013

The Court of Appeal has granted United Utilities permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against its judgment inManchester Ship Canal Company Limited v United Utilities [2013] EWCA Civ 40.  In that case, the Court of Appeal held that following the privatisation of the sewerage industry, undertakers had no implicit right to discharge from their sewers into private watercourses.

The Court of Appeal however expressly doubted the correctness of that position, but considered themselves bound to reach it by virtue of a decision of the Court in a previous case.  The appeal to the Supreme Court is likely to raise important issues as to the construction of consolidation statutes and the presumption against retroactivity, and its decision is likely to have significant consequences both for landowners and for sewerage undertakers and their customers.

Julian Greenhill and James McCreath appeared for United Utilities.