Advantages And Disadvantages Of Common Law

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Disadvantages of legislation

The fate of environmental litigation in Budden v BP Oil and Shell Oil (1980) 124 SJ 376 amply demonstrates the inherent difficulties of actions in nuisance and negligence for damage suffered as a result of environmental harm. The plaintiff claimed damages, alleging nuisance and negligence, for harm alleged to have been suffered as a result of lead pollution caused by emissions from petrol during the refining process. The defendants applied to have the action struck out as disclosing no reasonable cause of action. It was clear from the evidence that the plaintiff had suffered no more harm than any other small child living near a main road might suffer and thus no claim in nuisance could lie. The court of appeal rule accepted the argument put forward by the defendants that they had complied with the relevant statutory provision under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 thus the statutory standard establishes the common law standard. Thus the action in negligence also failed because the defendant companies had at all times complied with the regulations laid down by the secretary of state under the Control of Pollution Act 1974. This case shows how legislation can have an adverse effect on pollution control because if legislation sets a certain standard that turns out to be too great and leads to environmental damage then the
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Where one has a limitation the other can often provide a solution. Overall there have been cases which could have developed the common law such as the Cambridge water case but as stated in Wolf and Stanley 2010 it would be unfair and to penalise people and impose retrospective liability for operation there were considered normal at the relevant time and in my opinion it simply wouldn’t be

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