Case Brief Wiki


The City of London Electrical Lighting Company set up powerful engines and other works on land near a house which was being leased by Shelfer. Due to vibrations and noise caused by the work, structural damage appeared in the house and caused annoyance and disturbance to Shelfer. He brought an action for an injunction and damages for the injury and nuisance caused thus far. The trial judge refused to grant an injunction and instead awarded damages.


  1. When should a plaintiff be granted an injunction versus damages?


Appeal allowed, injunction granted.


Smith states that when there are four conditions present, then damages should be given instead of an injunction:

  1. if the injury to the plaintiff's legal right is small,
  2. if it is one which is capable of being estimated in money,
  3. if it is one that can be compensated by a small money payment, and
  4. if it would be oppressive to the defendant to grant an injunction.

However, Smith also states that there may be cases where these four conditions are present, however the defendant has acted in such a way that he has disentitled himself from asking for damages instead of an injunction, such as hurrying up building in order to finish it before an injunction may be granted.

In this case Smith finds it is clear that damages should not be awarded in place of an injunction to prevent continuance of the nuisance.


Sets out the conditions for awarding damages rather than an injunction in nuisance cases.