Noise and nuisance
Taking your own action
Guidance on making a complaint under Section 82 of the Environmental Prortection Act 1990, to the magistrates court in England and Wales
Where, for whatever reason, the Local Authority has decided not to initiate proceedings, or where you do not wish to involve the Local Authority, you can, if you are an occupier of premises and believe you are affected by a statutory nuisance, complain direct to the Magistrates’ Court under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Magistrates will need to be persuaded that the nuisance about which you are complaining amounts to a statutory nuisance, and so it is important that you keep a written record of the dates, times and duration of the nuisance, a description of its nature and a description of the way that the nuisance specifically affects you in your property.
Before complaining to the Magistrates, though, it is best to see if you can resolve the problem informally by writing to the person responsible for the nuisance or, if you are unable to identify who is actually causing the problem, to the owner or occupier of the premises concerned. You should state that you consider they are causing a nuisance, and that unless they stop or satisfactorily reduce the nuisance, you feel that you will have little choice but to take your complaint to the Magistrates’ Court. Make sure that you have acted in a reasonable manner and have given the person responsible for the nuisance the chance to rectify the situation before resorting to legal measures.
If there is still no improvement, the next step is to contact the Clerk at the local Magistrates’ Court. Tell the clerk you wish to make a complaint under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and it is likely an appointment for you to go and see the clerk will be made, where the procedure will be explained and you will be asked to produce evidence as described above to show the Magistrates that you have an arguable case. You should also let the clerk know if the Environmental Health Department of your Local Authority has been consulted. If the Magistrates decide that you do have an arguable case (you do not have to prove your case at this stage), a summons will be issued and served on the person responsible for the nuisance, stating the date and time arranged for the court hearing. They will probably come to court to defend themselves and may perhaps even make counter-accusations.
You do not need to have a solicitor to represent you at the hearing, although you may do if you so wish. If you present your own case the Clerk of the Court will give you advice and guidance, or you can contact your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, which may be able to offer assistance.
If the Magistrates decide in your favour, the court will make an order requiring the defendant to abate the nuisance, and specify whatever measures it considers necessary to achieve this. The order may also prohibit or restrict a recurrence of the nuisance, and again may specify how this is to be done. A person who without reasonable excuse contravenes any requirements of such an order is guilty of an offence under the Act and can be fined. You should therefore continue to keep your record of occurrences up to date in case the order is being ignored and it proves necessary to return to court.
Contact details for the local magistrates court:
- Leicester Magistrates Court, 15 Pocklingtons Walk, Leicester LE1 6BT
- Telephone: 0116 2553666
- Email: email@example.com