Police Law Blog European Decisions Statutory Materials

Decisions on disciplinary sanction must be properly structured

Police misconduct panels must explain their decisions on disciplinary outcome in a structured manner, referring to the seriousness of the misconduct, the purpose of disciplinary sanctions and the most appropriate sanction for the misconduct. The High Court has quashed a misconduct panel’s decision to impose a final written warning on the basis that the panel failed to do this: R (Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police) v (1) Police Misconduct Panel (2) Roscoe (2018) Case no 698/2018.

Inquest representation: Is there a contractual right to “closure”?

Shaw v Leigh Day (A firm) [2017] EWHC 825 QB

Attention family representatives! Absolutely nooo pressure at all, it’s just that if you don’t get your client the closure they want out of an inquest, now you can be sued for damages for causing them distress. That is the effect of this recent High Court decision.

The tweetie-birds-round-head inducing litigation saga is set out in more detail below. In a nutshell, Mrs Shaw’s elderly father had a cardiac arrest following complications of a trans aortic valve procedure (TAVI). She instructed Leigh Day, one suspects on a private basis (although this isn’t clear from the decision), and there was an Article 2 inquest at the end of which the jury concluded that the death was an unintended result of a therapeutic procedure and made no criticisms of anyone.

The inquest left Mrs Shaw dissatisfied and, so far as she was concerned, lacking answers to key questions. Even though there has been since been a successful negligence action against the hospital and the surgeon, the High Court has now cleared the way for her to claim £5,000 for mental distress from Leigh Day caused by what she says is the poor job they made of getting disclosure and representing her at the inquest.

Caution required

  • A recent High Court decision should remind all those involved in the issuing of simple adult cautions of the need to follow the Ministry of Justice guidance.
  • Disclosure of the evidence (not necessarily the documents) should be provided.
  • Cautions would only be quashed in an exceptional case where a caution is administered in clear breach of the guidelines.