An Informer v A Chief Constable: CA 29 Feb 2012

The claimant appealed against dismissal of his claim for damages against the police. He had provided them with information, but he said that they had acted negligently and in breach of contract causing him financial loss. The officer handling his case had failed to notify a judge of his involvement and had allowed a case for money laundering to proceed against him. The judge found no contract to that effect, nor any duty to avoid all economic losses.
Held: The claimant’s appeal failed. Arrangements for management of informers were both statutory and by Codes of Practice. They recognised a need to care for the informers welfare, which would include his financial well being, but only so far as his condition was affected by his acting as an informer. There was a duty to the claimant arising out of the proximity of the relationship, which extended beyond his physical welfare, possibly covering his financial welfare and the claim was based on financial loss. However, when considering the scope and extent of the duty, and the standard of care required, the complexity of the situation was to be borne in mind. In the particular circumstances, while there were failings, those failings did not amount to a breach of the duty owed.

Arden, Pill, Toulson LJJ
[2013] QB 579, [2012] EWCA Civ 197, [2012] 3 All ER 601, [2013] 2 WLR 694
England and Wales
CitedRigby and another v Chief Constable of Northamptonshire 1985
The police were found liable to pay damages for negligence having fired a gas canister into the plaintiffs’ gunsmith’s hop premises in order to flush out a dangerous psychopath. There had been a real and substantial fire risk in firing the canister . .
CitedCalveley v Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police HL 1989
Police officers brought an action in negligence against a Chief Constable on the ground that disciplinary proceedings against them had been negligently conducted. They claimed that the investigating officers had negligently failed to conduct the . .
CitedHertfordshire Police v Van Colle; Smith v Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL 30-Jul-2008
Police Obligations to Witnesses is Limited
A prosecution witness was murdered by the accused shortly before his trial. The parents of the deceased alleged that the failure of the police to protect their son was a breach of article 2.
Held: The House was asked ‘If the police are alerted . .
CitedElguzouli-Daf v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Another CA 16-Nov-1994
The Court upheld decisions striking out actions for negligence brought by claimants who had been arrested and held in custody during criminal investigations which were later discontinued. The Crown Prosecution Service owes no general duty of care to . .
CitedSwinney and Another v Chief Constable of Northumbria CA 22-Mar-1996
The plaintiff, a woman and her husband, had passed on information in confidence to the police about the identity of a person implicated in the killing of a police officer, expressing her concern that she did not want the source of the information to . .
CitedSerious Fraud Office v A CACD 2-Aug-2007
The Director said the Judge had been wrong to discharge on grounds of want of disclosure a restraint order previously made ex parte under the Proceeds of Crime Act at the request of a foreign investigator.
‘The proper approach is to consider . .
CitedCapital and Counties Plc v Hampshire County Council CA 14-Mar-1997
Consolidation of cases involving question of what duty was owed by a fire service to the owners of buildings.
Whether and if so in what circumstances a fire brigade owes a duty of care to the owner or occupier of premises which are damaged or . .
CitedChief Constable of Northumbria v Costello CA 3-Dec-1998
A woman police officer was attacked by a prisoner in a cell. She sought damages for the failure of a senior officer nearby not to come to her aid, and from the chief constable under his vicarious liability.
Held: The chief constable’s appeal . .
CitedBrooks v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and others HL 21-Apr-2005
The claimant was with Stephen Lawrence when they were both attacked and Mr Lawrence killed. He claimed damages for the negligent way the police had dealt with his case, and particularly said that they had failed to assess him as a victim of crime, . .
CitedGibson v Orr, the Chief Constable, Strathlclyde Police SCS 26-Feb-1999
The pursuer and his passengers were injured when he drove off a bridge which had been damaged in a severe rainstorm. He claimed in negligence against the police, who had been informed of the collapse of the bridge, but had not erected any warning . .
CitedGibson v Orr, the Chief Constable, Strathlclyde Police SCS 26-Feb-1999
The pursuer and his passengers were injured when he drove off a bridge which had been damaged in a severe rainstorm. He claimed in negligence against the police, who had been informed of the collapse of the bridge, but had not erected any warning . .
Still good lawWelsh v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police 1993
On conviction for one offence, the plaintiff asked for two other offences to be taken into consideration. He was bailed pending sentence. He was then arrested for the other offences and wrongfully held in custody. The Crown Prosecution Service had . .
CitedKeyse v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis, Scutts CA 18-May-2001
The court considered liability where a police car on emergency duty hit Mr Scutts causing very serious injuries. The officer appealed against a finding of liability saying that the judge had declared irrelevant the fact he was on an emergency . .

Cited by:
CitedMichael and Others v South Wales Police and Another CA 20-Jul-2012
The deceased had called the police and said her life was under immediate threat. An officer downgraded its seriousness, and she was killed within 15 minutes by her partner, and before the officers arrived. She had sought assistance four times . .
CitedMichael and Others v The Chief Constable of South Wales Police and Another SC 28-Jan-2015
The claimants asserted negligence in the defendant in failing to provide an adequate response to an emergency call, leading, they said to the death of their daughter at the hands of her violent partner. They claimed also under the 1998 Act. The . .
CitedAXN v The Queen CACD 27-May-2016
The defendant argued that greater note should have been taken on his sentencing to allow for the assistance he had given to the police after his arrest.
Held: The current accepted practice is that the text of the letter from the police to the . .
CitedRobinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police SC 8-Feb-2018
Limits to Police Exemption from Liability
The claimant, an elderly lady was bowled over and injured when police were chasing a suspect through the streets. As they arrested him they fell over on top of her. She appealed against refusal of her claim in negligence.
Held: Her appeal . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Negligence

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.451703