Nuisance neighbours or persistent passers-by – what can be done?

April 17, 2020 admin

Since the social distancing rules came into force, social media has been awash with examples of people flouting the rules and putting others, and often themselves, at risk.

The SARS-CoV-2 which leads to the COVI-19 disease is currently accepted to be transmitted by respiratory droplets passing from person to person. It follows that close proximity to someone with the virus will greatly increase the chances of transmission and infection. This is why the UK Government, and those around the world, require citizens to stay at home and not gather in groups. But what can be done if people ignore this and decide to hold house parties or garden parties?

If a gathering puts an innocent third party at risk, that party is able ask for it to be broken up. The usual route is through the Police, but in when staff numbers are low and those on duty are busy elsewhere, it is not always a viable option.

When notice of a party is given, a civil claim can be started based on the nuisance that such a gathering may and the risk of personal injury to the neighbour. The successful outcome would be an injunction against the would be party organisers which, if breached, can lead to substantial financial implications and even jail time.

It is unclear, and untested, whether such steps can be taken against persistent flouters of the rules who exercise more than once a day or attend relatives for purposes other than care (such as cutting the grass for the third time this week, or dropping off a birthday present). The likelihood is, however, that if these breaches are anticipated and give rise to a genuine risk of infection, that an injunction would be possible.

The number of injunctions sought against house-, and garden-, parties has increased dramatically over recent weeks. Where neighbours would often forgive some late night partying and loud noise, they now prioritise social distancing and health.

Are you at risk of infection because of your neighbours? If you are, or are unsure whether you are, call us on 0333 2400 944 for a free 15 minute consultation or use the contact form below.

Importantly, Amgen Law has provided this Insights article for information only and nothing in it should be constituted as legal advice. However, if you would like to discuss any of these issues further about a legal matter that is affecting you, please get in touch with us directly using the form below.