Bunn and Douglas, ‘Breaking New Ground? Nuisance, Negligence and Pure Economic Loss in Marsh v Baxter

Abstract
In Marsh v Baxter the WA Supreme Court resolved a dispute between organic farmers, the Marshes, and their genetically-modified-crop-growing neighbour, Mr Baxter. Causes of action in negligence and nuisance each failed. The court denied that Baxter owed the Marshes a duty to prevent swathes of GM material entering their property, and denied that Baxter unreasonably interfered with the use of their property. In terms of principle, the case is notable for a narrow view of recoverability of pure economic loss and for application of principles of nuisance to the battleground of GM farmers and their anti-GM neighbours. The judgment could be seen as a step towards resolving the tension between those who adopt GM technology and those who eschew it, but not an entirely satisfying one.

Bunn, Anna and Douglas, Michael, Breaking New Ground? Nuisance, Negligence and Pure Economic Loss in Marsh v Baxter (2014). (2014) 22(2) Torts Law Journal 160.

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