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Case details

Fearn and others (Appellants) v Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery (Respondent)

Case ID: 2020/0056

Case summary


Whether the Court of Appeal erred in failing to hold that:

  • (i) private nuisance, understood in light of the requirements of section 6(1) of the HRA, is capable of providing a remedy against ‘viewing’ from neighbouring land;
  • (ii) public viewing from the Respondent’s viewing gallery into the Appellant’s flats infringes the Appellants’ rights under article 8(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to respect for their private lives and their homes;
  • Facts

    The Appellants own flats which neighbour the Tate Gallery (Tate) on the South Bank in London. At approximately the same time as their flats were being built, an extension to the Tate, known as the Blavatnik Building, was built. The Blavatnik Building is ten storeys high and has a 360-degree viewing platform, which is open to the public.
    It appears to have been overlooked during planning and construction that the viewing gallery would permit visitors to look into the Appellants’ flats, which are largely constructed of glass. The Tate took steps to reduce the intrusions, but the Appellants brought proceedings seeking an injunction on viewing from part of the viewing gallery on the basis of article 8 of the ECHR and in common law nuisance.

    Judgment appealed

    [2020] EWCA Civ 104



    Giles Fearn and others


    Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery



    Lord Reed, Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Kitchin, Lord Sales, Lord Leggatt

    Hearing start date

    7 December 2021

    Hearing finish date

    8 December 2021

    Watch hearing
    7 Dec 2021 Morning session Afternoon session
    8 Dec 2021 Morning session Afternoon session

    Future Judgment Update

    Please note that appeal in the matter of Fearn and others (Appellants) v Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery (Respondent) has been heard by the Supreme Court and is currently awaiting judgment.

    As soon as the judgment hand-down date is confirmed, it will be published on the Future judgments page of this website. As a very broad indication, judgments tend to follow between three to nine months after the conclusion of the appeal hearing, although in some cases it may be earlier than that. Information about judgment hand-downs is usually announced one week in advance. We are unable to give any indication of the likely hand-down date for judgments not listed on the Future judgments page.