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Nuisance laws started just after the Norman Conquest and have been heard in the English courts since the 12th century. The basic assumption is that everyone has the right to the use and enjoyment of his or her land. Nuisance laws were for centuries the major method of regulating land use. When an action or inaction affects that use or enjoyment, it can be identified as a nuisance.

A nuisance can be categorized as either private or public. A private nuisance is a situation that affects the enjoyment or use of an individual's property without a trespass or physical invasion. A public nuisance is a condition endangering public health, morals, safety, comfort, convenience, or welfare of community members. The same nuisance, however, may be enforceable ...

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