The offence is defined as follows:
Over the years, examples
of public nuisance have included: obstructing the highway,blasting and quarrying near built-up areas, allowing land to be used as a dump, noisy parties, bomb hoaxes and false calls to emergency services etc.
This definition, which appeared in Stephen's Digest of the Criminal Law (1877), was approved by the House of Lords as recently as R v Rimmington and R v Goldstein  1 AC 459 (HL),  UKHL 63. Lord Bingham opened his speech by stating - "These appeals, heard together, raise important and difficult questions concerning the definition and ingredients, today, of the common law crime of causing a public nuisance. The appellants contend that, as applied in their cases, the offence is too imprecisely defined, and the courts' interpretation of it too uncertain and unpredictable, to satisfy the requirements either of the common law or of the European Convention on Human Rights. A question also arises on the mens rea which must be proved to establish the offence."