Evidence is Key
Success in enforcement depends largely upon the strength of the evidence you and the enforcement agency collect. Firstly, you must be able to persuade the enforcement body that you are suffering from a significant problem that warrants formal action. Secondly, in order to be able to take enforcement action, a substantial body of evidence will need to be presented if your case is tested in court.
Court cases have demonstrated over time that, where the evidence provided is weak or insubstantial, action will fail (leaving the complainant or claimant out of pocket, without redress and continuing to suffer).
Maintaining a Log of Evidence
One judge recently stated that in order to demonstrate a sufficiently robust claim you will need to provide:
- Evidence of fact and degree;
- Oral evidence; and
- Statements from witnesses;
together with contemporaneous records of complaints and/or occurrences.
In order to ensure that your evidence is sufficiently accurate and meaningful you will need to approach the process methodically by maintaining an ongoing log of evidence; recording that evidence continually and at the time that the noise is happening. It is best that you start to compile your diary/log sheets at the earliest opportunity and make sure they are maintained throughout the duration of the complaint.
Describing the Impact
Consider what must often be shown in order to demonstrate that a nuisance exists:
- That a state of affairs exists (usually that a problem exists over a period of time);
- The scale and nature of the nuisance suffered;
- That the noise is both excessive and unreasonable.
In order to do this your records will need to be descriptive. Explain how the noise is affecting you, your family and your lifestyle. Is the noise waking you up or preventing you from sleeping? Does it make you turn up the volume of your television so that it can be heard? Can you hear the lyrics to a song?
Form of Evidence
Ultimately, the evidence presented by the enforcement agency may take different forms and may include:
- Statements of witnesses;
- Diary/log sheets;
- CCTV, video or audio recordings;
- Oral and hearsay evidence; and
- Sound level data.
But not all will be required though and most cases rely upon the evidence provided by you, witnesses and the investigating officers.
There are also technological aids that may assist in the collection of evidence, including the manually activated recording devices issued by investigators (noise nuisance recorders). There is also the Noise App which is a mobile phone application that enables the user to log and record evidence of noise.