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Tate peeping – CA decision

We reported in our March 2019 edition (p24) on the case brought by the owners of luxury flats adjacent to the Tate Gallery. They applied for an injunction to prevent members of the public from looking directly into their flats from a viewing gallery constructed at the Tate Modern museum.
 
The claimants argued that that the viewing gallery was a nuisance and infringed their right to privacy under the HRA 1998 and sought an injunction to stop members of the public looking into their flats. The HC dismissed the claim and they appealed.
 
The CA has rejected the appeal. The CA confirmed that the flat owners could have taken remedial steps ‘expected of owners in this context’ eg lowering solar blinds, installing privacy film or putting up net curtains or putting taller plants in the ‘garden’ area. The CA was not prepared to extend the law of nuisance and held the law of nuisance was not capable of protecting privacy rights from overlooking. Mere overlooking is not capable of giving rise to a cause of action in private nuisance.
 
The CA made a salient observation: ‘even in modern times the law does not always provide a remedy for every annoyance to a neighbour, however considerable that annoyance may be’. The CA refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. See Fearn v Tate Gallery [2020] EWCA Civ 104 reported on www.judiciary.uk.
 

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