The Court of Appeal has reiterated, in Rees v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  EWCA Civ 49, that since non-pecuniary damages in civil claims against the police. e.g. for loss of liberty, or distress and inconvenience, are generally assessed by reference to all matters leading up to the judgment, there will usually be no need for an additional award of interest. A substantial award of exemplary damages – £150,000, split between three claimants, was upheld on the basis that the case had involved an egregious prosecution set in motion by an officer of very senior rank (a Detective Chief Superintendent).
In Rashid v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire  EWHC 2522 (QB) the High Court (Lavender J) has allowed an appeal against a Recorder’s decision to dismiss a general practitioner’s claim for wrongful arrest, on the basis that the officers involved lacked reasonable grounds for believing the arrest was necessary. It follows recent cases in articulating a higher bar for the police to show reasonable grounds for necessity to arrest than perhaps had been thought to apply. It also raises interesting arguments about whether any other defences, such as the “Lumba/Parker” issue or ex turpi causa (the defence of illegality) might be available where an arrest has been unlawful.
Pile v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police  EWHC 2472 (QB) concerned what many might consider to be the tail end of just another good night out. The claimant got into a taxi on 22 April 2017, in an advanced state of intoxication, and the taxi driver rang 999 to report that she had started abusing him and ‘kicking off’. She vomited all over herself and over the back of the taxi. Officers responding to this unfortunate misunderstanding found her covered in vomit, including in her hair. They arrested her for the offence of being drunk and disorderly. At the police station, Ms Pile was flailing her arms with the intention of striking the officers accompanying her. She later accepted a £60 fixed penalty notice as an alternative to being prosecuted. For many, the story would have ended there…
In Tindall v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police  EWHC 837 (QB) — available on Westlaw but not yet Bailii or the ICLR, the courts have again demonstrated a reluctance to strike-out a police negligence claim. This shows the difficulty of trying to show whether the police have positively created a danger/made it worse or merely refrained from protecting someone. A claim against the police for negligence will usually arise in the first instance but not, subject to exceptions, the second.
In Goodenough v Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police  EWHC 695 (QB) , the High Court, Turner J, considered a claim for damages brought by Robin Goodenough’s mother and sister. The claims arose out of Mr Goodenough’s death on 27 September 2003 following a short car chase and traffic stop. The Claimants asserted that police officers had assaulted Mr Goodenough and that thereafter had been breaches of Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998. The case provides useful insights into the approach to be taken when conducting a judicial analysis of incidents such as this and may be relied upon by those arguing that an Art 2 inquest is required in order to meet investigative short comings.