Sturges v Bridgman

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Sturges v Bridgman
CourtCourt of Appeal
Decided1 July 1879
Citation(s)(1879) LR 11 Ch D 852
Case opinions
Thesiger LJ

Sturges v Bridgman (1879) LR 11 Ch D 852 is a landmark case in nuisance. It decides that what constitutes reasonable use of one's property depends on the character of the locality and that it is no defence that the plaintiff "came to the nuisance".


A doctor moved next door to a confectioner, who had produced sweets for sale in his kitchen for many years. The doctor constructed a small shed for the purpose of private practice. He built the shed on the boundary. However, the loud noises from the confectioner's industrial mortars and pestles could be clearly heard, disrupting his use and enjoyment of his land. He sought an injunction. The facts were described by Thesiger LJ in the Court of Appeal as follows,


The Court of Appeal held that the fact the doctor had "come to the nuisance", by which the Judge meant moved to an area where the nuisance had been operating for years without harming anyone, was no defense. The doctor's legal right to have the nuisance stopped was not lessened by the confectioner's longstanding practice. The text of Thesiger LJ's judgment follows.

See also[edit]


  • Simpson, A. W. B. (2009). "The Story of Sturges v. Bridgman: The Resolution of Land Use Disputes Between Neighbors". In Korngold, G.; Morriss, A. P. (eds.). Property Stories (2nd ed.). New York: Foundation Press. p. 11.
  • Coase, Ronald H. (1960). "The Problem of Social Cost". Journal of Law and Economics. 3 (1): 1–44. Where he argues the case was decided on poor grounds from an economic point of view.