Bibby v Chief Constable of Essex Police: CA 6 Apr 2000

A bailiff sought to execute against goods in a shop against the will of the occupier. The police attended and when tempers were raised the police officer anticipated a breach of the peace by the bailiff and arrested him. He sought damages for that arrest.
Held: In order for a citizen properly to exercise a common law power of arrest over a person not at the time acting unlawfully, he must show that there was a real and immediate threat of breach of the peace which emanated from the person to be arrested, that he was interfering in others exercising their lawful rights, that its natural consequence must be ‘not wholly unreasonable violence’ from another, and the conduct of the person to be arrested must be unreasonable. The officer in this case had misconstrued the law and not properly assessed where the threat of violence was coming from, which was the debtor.
Schiemann LJ said: ‘Counsel for the claimant submitted the case law justified the following. In order to exercise the now exceptional common law power of arrest, certain conditions must be met in relation to the person who is to be arrested and his conduct:
(1) There must be the clearest of circumstances and a sufficiently real and present threat to the peace to justify the extreme step of depriving of his liberty a citizen who is not at the time acting unlawfully — Foulkes.
(2) The threat must be coming from the person who is to be arrested — Redmond-Bate.
(3) The conduct must clearly interfere with the rights of others — Redmond-Bate.
(4) The natural consequence of the conduct must be violence from a third party — Redmond-Bate.
(5) The violence in (4) must not be wholly unreasonable — Redmond-Bate.
(6) The conduct of the person to be arrested must be unreasonable — Nicol.
I consider that this accurately states the law. Of course I accept that it is desirable that violence be prevented. It is also desirable that citizens neither doing nor threatening any wrong are not deprived of their liberty.’
Morritt, Pill, Schiemann LJJ
Times 24-Apr-2000, [2000] EWCA Civ 113, (2000) 164 JP 297
England and Wales
CitedRegina v Howell (Errol) CACD 1981
The court considered the meaning of the legal concept of a breach of the peace.
Held: The essence is to be found in violence or threatened violence. ‘We entertain no doubt that a constable has a power of arrest where there is reasonable . .
CitedRedmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 23-Jul-1999
The police had arrested three peaceful but vociferous preachers when some members of a crowd gathered round them threatened hostility.
Held: Freedom of speech means nothing unless it includes the freedom to be irritating, contentious, . .
CitedFoulkes v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police CA 9-Jun-1998
A man was locked out of the matrimonial home which he owned jointly with his wife, following a family dispute. The police told him, as was the fact, that his wife and children did not want him to re-enter the house and the police suggested that he . .
CitedRegina v Nicol and Selvanayagam QBD 10-Nov-1995
The appellants appealed a bind-over for a finding that each appellant had been guilty of conduct whereby a breach of the peace was likely to be occasioned. The appellants, concerned about cruelty to animals, had obstructed an angling competition by . .

Cited by:
CitedBlench v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 5-Nov-2004
The defendant appealed against his conviction for assaulting a police officer in the execution of his duty under section 89. He had argued that he had no case to answer. The officers had received an emergency call to the house, but the female caller . .
CitedHammond v Director of Public Prosecutions Admn 13-Jan-2004
The defendant, who had since died, had been convicted of a public order offence in that standing in a street he had displayed a range of placards opposing homosexuality. He appealed saying that the finding was an unwarranted infringement of his . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 January 2021; Ref: scu.147146