Sewers, non-feasance and human rights: the Marcic appeal (J. Lowther)


Jason Lowther


ECHR, HRA, private nuisance, statutory authority, public interest, human rights, environmental protection.


This article is an evaluation of the Court of Appeal decision in Marcic v Thames Water Utilities Ltd. that held a sewerage undertaker liable in nuisance for external flooding by foul water suffered on Marcic’s property. It was evident from the appeal that the Court would also have awarded damages under the HRA had the remedy in nuisance not been adequate. Nonetheless the House of Lords reversed the decision; they rejected the claim in both nuisance and human rights, inter alia, on the grounds that the statutory scheme for complaints and enforcement under the Water Industry Act 1991 acted as a shield against the HRA. Lowther’s concluding remarks in this article highlight the unfortunate consequences of the ruling made by their Lordships in the context of nuisance law and human rights.


(2002) 14(1) Environmental Law and Management, 17.


Sewers, non-feasance and human rights: the Marcic appeal.