St Helen’s Smelting Co v Tipping [1865] UKHL J81

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  • A man bought a property near a copper smelter.
  • The vapours caused damage to trees & livestock.
  • He brought an action against them.
  • The judge directed the jury that a man cannot use his property to cause injury but everything must be looked at with a reasonable view. The law does not regard trifling inconvenience as actionable.


  • Whether the direction was correct, in relation to nuisance


  • The directions were correct.
  • The copper smelter did create a nuisance.
  • There is a distinction between a nuisance that creates injury versus one that causes discomfort. In the latter, whether this constitutes a nuisance depends on where it exists (e.g. a town is noisy).
  • It is a question of compound facts and circumstances.
  • The copper smelter was in a manufacturing area but the business was not carried on properly due to proximity to the town.
  • Material injury to property and value of property; this was achieved.

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