• In the case of Miller v Jackson [1977] Q.B. 966, it was held that the public interest- which requires young people to have the benefit of outdoor games- may outweigh the private interest of neighbouring householders who are the victims of the balls therefrom, and prevent an injunction being granted, even if the sportsmen are guilty of negligence.

Facts of the Case

  • D had played cricket on their land since 1905.
  • C owned a house close to the cricket ground where, so long as cricket was played, there was a chance of damage or injury. No such injury occurred.
  • Frequently over the years, cricket balls would land in the gardens of D and others in the housing estate, or break a window.
  • In 1975, before the cricket season opened, D erected a 15ft chain-link fence costing £700. This could not be built higher because of the wind.
  • In total, between 1974 and 1976, 15 balls went over the fence into the housing estate.
  • D offered to remedy all damages and pay all expenses.
  • D also offered to supply and fit unbreakable glass in the windows or fit a safety net over the garden whenever cricket is being played.
  • C rejected every offer by D and sued D with the intention of closing the cricket club.


  • Was D guilty of nuisance/ negligence by batting balls into the housing estate during the course of cricket?
  • Did C’s hardship in losing the use of their garden while cricket was being played outweigh the public benefit of the cricket club?

Held by the Court of Appeal (Civil Division)

  • Finding for D, that D was guilty of both nuisance and negligence, but where the court exercises its equitable jurisdiction to grant an injunction, it must have regard to the public interests at stake.
  • The hardship to the public of losing the game should prevail over the hardship to the individual householders who could not use their garden whilst cricket was being played. Accordingly, the injunction was discharged.

Lord Denning M.R. (Dissenting on Nuisance/Negligence)

  • C has relied on Bolton v Stone [1951] AC 850, which held ‘if cricket cannot be played on a ground without creating a substantial risk, then it should not be played there at all.’
  • This is unreasonable when the cricket ground has been there for 70 years, and the houses are newly built at the very edge. D is under a duty to use all reasonable care when playing cricket, but D cannot be expected to give up the game altogether.
  • “In this case it is our task to balance the right of the cricket club to continue playing cricket on their cricket ground – as against the right of the householder not to be interfered with. Upon taking the balance, I would give priority to the right of the cricket club to continue playing cricket on the ground, as they have done for the last seventy years. It takes precedence over the right of the newcomer to sit in his garden undisturbed. After all, he bought the house four years ago in mid-summer when the cricket season was at its height. He might have guessed that there was a risk that a hit for six might possibly land on his property. If he finds that he does not like it, he ought, when cricket is played, to sit in the other side of the house or in the front garden or go out: or take advantage of the offers the club have made to him of fitting unbreakable glass, and so forth. Or, if he does not like that, he ought to sell his house and move elsewhere” [981D].