Ottercroft Ltd v Scandia Care Ltd and Rahimian, a recent decision of the Court of Appeal, reinforces the principle that where a defendant acts high-handedly and breaches undertakings, the court is more likely to grant a mandatory injunction even if the infringement is minor. This is to serve as a lesson to others. The case related to the construction of a staircase that obstructed light to a window on an adjoining property and interfered with its right to light. Primary among the reasons for the Court’s decision to grant an injunction was the breach of an undertaking not to build the staircase (which was as binding as an interim order). The defendant also did not help itself by the conduct of its director, who also gave an undertaking and knew that the staircase might infringe the right and was also found not to be a truthful witness.
While an injunction should not be granted if damages were an adequate remedy (which they probably would have been in the case) and the infringement was minor, the defendant’s conduct was such as to justify the injunction. Also cost-wise, the injunction was not oppressive to the defendant.
Ottercroft Ltd v (1) Scandia Care Ltd (2) Rahimian (Court of Appeal, unreported, 6 July 2016)