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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; and
  • (iii) further or alternatively, for the purposes of section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), the Respondent as a public authority is liable to the Appellants for that infringement.


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