The relevance of public interests in private law is at the heart of some central divides in tort scholarship. This paper argues that public interests pervade private nuisance cases. The uncertain and contested nature of public interests, and the absence in both the case law and the scholarly literature of an abstract definition of what is to count as a public interest, do not prevent these matters from playing a significant role in tort. In these circumstances, it is important to reflect on how we might set about articulating the public interest. This paper argues that administrative decisions that are intended to serve the public interest can in some cases provide a defensible vision of public interest for the purposes of private law. An examination of the process by which regulatory decisions were reached can provide indicators to assist in identifying and evaluating the strength of claimed public interests.
Maria Lee, The Public Interest in Private Nuisance: Collectives and Communities in Tort. Cambridge Law Journal. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S000819731500032X. Published online: 08 May 2015.