Vegan Australian takes neighbours to Supreme Court over barbecue smells

Isabella Ruffatti
The woman said she could not go into her back garden - Getty Images Contributor

A vegan in Western Australia who took her neighbours to the supreme court in a failed bid to stop them from using their barbecue has said she is considering further legal action.

The court and the state’s administrative tribunal both threw out Cilla Carden's complaints, who said that her neighbour's actions were deliberate.

"They've put it there so I smell fish. All I smell is fish," she said. "I can't enjoy my backyard, I can't go out there."

Ms Carden’s lawsuit began two years ago and she alleged that the smell of the barbecue and cigarettes were affecting her quality of life in her home in the Perth suburb of Girrawheen.

Her list of demands included asking another neighbour to reduce their patio lighting, silence their pets and to replace plants in the common garden.

The tribunal deemed her complaints unreasonable and lacking in evidence.

It said: “What they [Carden’s neighbours] are doing is living in their backyard and their home as a family.”

Parents allowing their children to play in the backyard did not constitute a reasonable nuisance, according to the tribunal.

Fearful of reprisals from Miss Carden, her neighbours had not turned on the lights, used the patio and allowed the children out at night for several months, the tribunal heard.

Ms Carden's 400-page appeal was rejected in July.

Supreme Court chief justice Peter Quinlan said that after considering the expansive material he judged that: “Ms Carden was given a fair opportunity to present her case, and the learned tribunal member conducted the proceedings fairly and appropriately.”

Ms Carden has told Australian media that she plans on taking further action.

Legal Aid Victoria warned that legal intervention in the neighbourhood could be expensive and lengthy, suggesting dispute resolution.

Supreme Court chief justice Quinlan recommended that the neighbours “direct their considerable energies towards the resolution of their differences as best they can.”

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