Favourite Cases: Bernstein v Skyviews – Article by Catherine Doran

One of Catherine Doran‘s favourite cases is Bernstein v Skyviews, a 1970s dispute concerning trespass to airspace and privacy, which involves issues relevant to the current debate on drone use.

Catherine says: “I have chosen this case that many will remember from their legal studies because we see 20th Century technology colliding with 13th Century principles. Baron Bernstein of Leigh, to give him his full title, was greatly affronted by the Defendant company, Skyviews & General Limited, flying a Cessna aeroplane over his 150 acre estate, taking an aerial photograph and offering to sell him the photograph. Lord Bernstein sued Skyviews for trespass and invasion of privacy, relying on the Latin maxim Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad coelum et ad inferos (whoever owns land it is theirs up to the heavens and down to hell)…”

You can read the full case summary here.

Bernstein v Skyviews is reported at [1978] 1 QB 479.