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The law of private nuisance following Wu: Emanation and access

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posted on 2021-11-14, 04:48 authored by Mazenier, Matthew

The boundaries of nuisance have traditionally been tightly guarded. However, the tort’s underlying concern for the protection of property rights has provided it with sufficient flexibility to adapt to changing social and legal circumstances. The New Zealand Court of Appeal’s decision in Body Corporate 366611 v Wu represents the extension of private nuisance to remedy gaps in the tort’s application to the relationship between body corporates and individual proprietors under the Unit Titles Act 1972. The case concerned the defendant Body Corporate’s denial of access to an individual proprietor with an interest in the common property from which the nuisance ‘emanated’. Though the Court erred in its interpretation of existing nuisance principles relating to emanation, its decision can be rationalised on the basis that the plaintiff’s lack of control and restricted access speak to the core interests protected by the tort. Given the Court’s finding that access restrictions may be reasonably imposed upon occupiers under the Body Corporate’s modified rules, the decision’s limited effect is to provide an individual proprietor with a figurative right of access. Outside of clarifying these doctrinal uncertainties, the decision does not produce lasting ramifications for private nuisance.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Name

LL.B. (Honours)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Research Paper or Project



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Law


Atkin, Bill