The claimants sought to bring an action for damages after a family member suspected of dealing drugs, was shot by the police. At the time he was naked. The police officer had been acquitted by a criminal court of murder. The chief constable now appealed a finding that he might nevertheless be liable in a civil court.
Held: To defend a criminal assault it was necessary only to show a genuine belief that the defendant was about to be attacked. In a civil claim, the defendant had to show that his belief was both honest and reasonable. The defendant had done everything but admit an unlawful assault, but the claimant was entitled to have heard his claim to establish his liability.
A claim for vindicatory damages did survive the deceased under the 1934 Act. Lord Scott said: ‘Although the principal aim of an award of compensatory damages is to compensate the claimant for loss suffered, there is no reason in principle why an award of compensatory damages should not also fulfil a vindicatory purpose. But it is difficult to see how compensatory damages can could ever fulfil a vindicatory purpose in a case of alleged assault where liability for the assault were denied and a trial of that issue never took place.’
Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Scott of Foscote, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Carswell, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
Times 24-Apr-2008,  UKHL 25,  2 WLR 975,  3 All ER 573,  AC 962
Fatal Accidents Act 1976, Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 1
England and Wales
Cited – Regina v Williams (Gladstone) CACD 28-Nov-1983
The defendant believed that the person whom he assaulted was unlawfully assaulting a third party. That person was a police officer, who said he was arresting the other, but did not show his warrant card.
Held: The court considered the issue of . .
Appeal from – Ashley and Another v Sussex Police CA 27-Jul-2006
The deceased was shot by police officers raiding his flat in 1998. The claimants sought damages for his estate. They had succeeded in claiming damages for false imprisonment, but now appealed dismissal of their claim for damages for assault and . .
Cited – Beckford v The Queen PC 15-Jun-1987
(Jamaica) Self defence permits a defendant to use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances as he honestly believed them to be. ‘If then a genuine belief, albeit without reasonable grounds, is a defence to rape because it negatives the . .
Cited – Daniels v Thompson 1998
(Court of Appeal of New Zealand) Thomas J said: ‘Compensation recognises the value attaching to the plaintiff’s interest or right which is infringed, but it does not place a value on the fact the interest or right ought not to have been infringed at . .
Cited – Dunlea and Others v HM Attorney General 14-Jun-2000
(Court of Appeal of New Zealand) The courts drew a distinction between damages which were loss-centred and damages which were rights-centred. Damages awarded for the purpose of vindication are essentially rights-centred, awarded in order to . .
Cited – Merson v Cartwright, The Attorney General PC 13-Oct-2005
(Bahamas) The defendant police had appealed the quantum of damages awarded to the claimant for assault and battery and false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, saying that she had been doubly compensated. The claimant now appealed reduction of . .
Cited – Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago v Ramanoop PC 23-Mar-2005
(Trinidad and Tobago) A police officer had unjustifiably roughed up, arrested, taken to the police station and locked up Mr Ramanoop, who now sought constitutional redress, including exemplary damages. He did not claim damages for the nominate torts . .
Cited – Rose v Ford HL 1937
Damages might be recovered for a loss of expectation of life. A claim for loss of expectation of life survived under the Act of 1934, and was not a claim for damages based on the death of a person and so barred at common law.
Lord Wright . .
Cited – Chester v Afshar HL 14-Oct-2004
The claimant suffered back pain for which she required neurosurgery. The operation was associated with a 1-2% risk of the cauda equina syndrome, of which she was not warned. She went ahead with the surgery, and suffered that complication. The . .
Cited – Regina v Her Majesty’s Attorney General ex parte Rusbridger and Another HL 26-Jun-2003
Limit to Declaratory Refilef as to Future Acts
The applicant newspaper editor wanted to campaign for a republican government. Articles were published, and he sought confirmation that he would not be prosecuted under the Act, in the light of the 1998 Act.
Held: Declaratory relief as to the . .
Cited – Ringvold v Norway ECHR 11-Feb-2003
The applicant had been tried for alleged sexual abuse of a minor, G, who in turn claimed civil compensation. He was acquitted and the claim for compensation dismissed. G appealed to the Supreme Court against the failure to award compensation. The . .
Cited – Hunter v Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police HL 19-Nov-1981
No collateral attack on Jury findigs.
An attempt was made to open up in a civil action, allegations of assaults by the police prior to the making of confessions which had been disposed of in a voir dire in the course of a criminal trial. The plaintiffs had imprisoned having spent many . .
Cited – Attorney General v Canter CA 1939
The Court declined to restrict the literal breadth of the words ‘all causes of action’ in section 1(1). . .
Cited – Cope v Sharpe (No 2) CA 1912
The court considered defences to assault; whether the defendant was justified in doing certain acts of trespass on the plaintiff’s land for the purpose of preventing heath fire and consequent loss and damage to the property of the defendant’s . .
Cited – Cresswell v Sirl CA 1948
The defendant shot and killed the plaintiff’s dog. The plaintiff claimed damages for trespass to property, the property being the dog. The defence was that the defendant was justified in killing the dog because it was threatening his sheep.
Cited – Clarke v Fennoscandia Ltd and others (Scotland) HL 12-Dec-2007
After being awarded costs in proceedings in the US, the defendants chased the claimant for their costs in Scotland. He sought an interdict saying that the judgment had been obtained by fraud. The defendant had give an undertaking not to pursue the . .
Cited – Macnaughton v Macnaughton’s Trustees IHCS 1953
It is not the function of the courts to decide hypothetical questions which do not impact on the parties before them. Lord Justice-Clerk Thomson said: ‘Our Courts have consistently acted on the view that it is their function in the ordinary run of . .
Cited – Raja v Van Hoogstraten ChD 19-Dec-2005
Damages were claimed after claimant alleged involvement by the defendant in the murder of the deceased. The defendant had been tried and acquitted of murder and manslaughter, but the allegation was now pursued. The defendant had since failed to . .
Cited – Y v Norway ECHR 11-Feb-2003
The applicant was acquitted by the Norwegian High Court of serious criminal charges, but the same court then went on to make an order for him to pay compensation to the victim’s relatives on the ground that it was clearly probable that he had . .
Cited – Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police v Hepburn CA 13-Dec-2002
The claimant sought damages from the police. They had executed a search warrant, and one officer detained the claimant during the raid.
Held: A person who mistakenly restrained an individual in the mistaken belief that he had been lawfully . .
Cited – Regina v Morgan HL 30-Apr-1975
The defendants appealed against their convictions for rape, denying mens rea and asserting a belief (even if mistaken) that the victim had consented.
Held: For a defence of mistake to succeed, the mistake must have been honestly made and need . .
Cited – Fairchild v Glenhaven Funeral Services Ltd and Others HL 20-Jun-2002
The claimants suffered mesothelioma after contact with asbestos while at work. Their employers pointed to several employments which might have given rise to the condition, saying it could not be clear which particular employment gave rise to the . .
Cited – City Council of Bristol v Lovell HL 26-Feb-1998
A County Court may stay a right to buy application by the tenant, even though terms had been agreed, in order to await the result of court proceedings for possession against the secure misbehaving tenant. A court’s case management powers can be . .
Cited – Halford v Brookes CA 1991
The plaintiff, the mother and administratrix of the estate of a 16 year old girl, alleged that her daughter had been murdered by one or both of the Defendants. The claim was for damages for battery. Rougier J at first instance had decided that: . .
Cited – Regina v Kimber CACD 1983
For mens rea, it is the defendant’s belief, not the grounds on which it is based, which goes to negative the intent. The guilty state of mind was the intent to use personal violence to a woman without her consent. If the defendant did not so intend, . .
Cited – Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd QBD 24-Jul-2008
The defendant published a film showing the claimant involved in sex acts with prostitutes. It characterised them as ‘Nazi’ style. He was the son of a fascist leader, and a chairman of an international sporting body. He denied any nazi element, and . .
Cited – Lumba (WL) v Secretary of State for The Home Department SC 23-Mar-2011
The claimants had been detained under the 1971 Act, after completing sentences of imprisonment pending their return to their home countries under deportations recommended by the judges at trial, or chosen by the respondent. They challenged as . .
Cited – Robinson 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.
Torts – Other, Damages
Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.267066