ancient lights doctrine

ancient lights doctrine

Early English doctrine holding that one could not build a structure so as to block the sunlight from a neighbor's window. Despite the abundance of available land in this country, Americans love of high-rise architecture, coupled with a general unwillingness to expand private property rights to contiguous spaces,means that the concept never really caught on here. One exception occurs when a neighbor builds a spite fence for a malicious purpose to obstruct light; the courts will order removal of the fence. Recently, some courts are revisiting the doctrine and allowing application,especially as it relates to the use of solar-powered equipment.Such courts reason that public policy now disfavors unbridled development and favors use of alternative energy sources.

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