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Bob’s neighbour is playing loud music inside their property with the windows open. Bob knocks on the window asking them to kindly lower the volume. Nobody appears to be home, so Bob gently pushes his neighbour’s window shut. The neighbour later returns home and irately shouts at Bob demanding that he not touch his windows. What is the legal position of this demand?

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  • Maybe relevant: law.stackexchange.com/questions/79513/… Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 0:15
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    The neighbour later returns home, [finds proof of the act?] and irately shouts at Bob. - otherwise Bob is being assaulted. Legal implication of accusing your neighbour without proof and then irately shouting at them? - 'be different if you were home and saw it. Or someone saw it. Or it's on the doorbell footage. You got nothing.
    – Mazura
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 12:57
  • @Mazura Irate shouting isn't sufficient to establish assault. There would need to be a threat of battery (physical contact).
    – JBentley
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 13:35
  • "assault is a criminal act in which a person intentionally causes fear of physical harm or offensive contact to another person." In the US, "a reasonable fear of bodily injury would suffice" or "threatening another in a menacing manner" or " purposely or knowingly causing reasonable apprehension of bodily injury in another" and "any act which is intended to place another in fear of immediate physical contact which will be painful, injurious, insulting, or offensive, coupled with the apparent ability to execute the act."
    – Mazura
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 23:22

1 Answer 1

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Bob must not interfere with another person's property without permission.

It is either trespass to land or trespass to chattels, or both, depending on how the window pane is classified and depending on who owns the land just adjacent to the window pane.

The music, kind requests, no one being home, gentleness of the interference, and irate shouting are irrelevant to the analysis.

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    On a practical note, can Bob call the police and ask them to close the windows? What negative consequences could Bob face for closing them?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 17:41
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    @phoog In Germany Bob may call the police because of an 'öffentliche Ruhestörung' or 'disturbance of public quiet'. This is used for and meant to be used for things like neighbors partying too loud in the middle of the night. I don't know whether the UK has a similar law.
    – quarague
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 6:59
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    It's worth noting that trespass in this context also isn't a crime... Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 11:08
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    Does england not have a meaningful self defense law? Because in Germany Bobs actions are 100% legal and legit: He chose the least harmful available method to prevent his own rights (which you can shoehorn noise into) from being violated (excessive noise). So @quarague he not only can call the police but also immediately remedy the situation (given that he can plausibly argue that any of his "Rechtsgüter" is under threat/attack)
    – Hobbamok
    Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 12:42
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    What if they are outwards-opening windows onto a shared garden or courtyard ("ventilation shaft" etc.) which both parties have a right to access? At what point does one party's hand intrude into the other party's curtilage? Commented Oct 5, 2023 at 14:05

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