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.
In Chief Constable of Essex Police v Transport Arendonk Bvba  EWHC 212 (QB), the High Court (Laing J) refused to strike out a claim in negligence, against the police, where the driver of a lorry carrying cargo had been arrested for drink-driving, and the cargo had been stolen during the driver’s detention at the police station. It demonstrates the continued difficulty to identify what is a police “act” or “omission” – and what amounts to the police causing a state of danger, giving rise to liability.
In LXD and Ors v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police  EWHC 1685 (Admin), the Administrative Court found that the police had not breached its obligations under Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 in its response to a threat to kill LXD and her children. Dingemans J, as he then was, encouraged mediation where the recipient of such a threat sought to challenge the adequacy of the police’s risk assessment or the protective measures that the police have put in place. The judge also questioned the appropriateness of a claim for judicial review being brought in these circumstances, which are likely to involve disputes of fact.
In Gilchrist v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police  EWHC 1233, the High Court considered officers’ use of force in the context of use of CS gas and a taser repeatedly upon a man who was autistic and mentally distressed and found that its continued use became unlawful. Whereas the initial use of CS gas and Taser were justified, once the police learned of the male’s vulnerability as an autistic man and noted that his behaviour was defensive rather than aggressive, a more cautious approach should have been adopted.
In Griffiths v (1) Chief Constable of Suffolk (2) Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 2538 (QB), the High Court dismissed claims that the Chief Constable and the NHS Trust were negligent in breaching their duties of care or had breached human rights. The case is interesting for reaffirming three points:
i. the law will generally not impose liability on a defendant for failing to prevent harm caused by someone else;
ii. obligations under Article 2 (right to life) or Article 3 (prohibition of torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) will not arise where the institution does not know of a real risk that those rights would be breached; and
iii. where there is a protective duty in respect of ECHR, Articles 2 or 3, a breach of Article 8 (respect for private and family life) cannot succeed where Articles 2 or 3 are not themselves breached.