Whether an officer had reasonable cause to arrest somebody without a warrant depended upon an objective assessment of the information available to him, and not upon his subjective beliefs. The court had three questions to ask (per Woolf LJ): ‘(a) Did the arresting officer suspect that the person arrested was guilty of the offence? The answer to this question depends entirely on the findings of fact as to the officer’s state of mind. (b) Assuming the officer had the necessary suspicion, was there reasonable cause for suspicion? This is a purely objective requirement to be determined by the judge if necessary on the facts found by a jury. (c) If the answer to the two previous questions is in the affirmative, then the officer has a discretion which entitles him to make an arrest and in relation to that discretion has been exercised in accordance with the principles laid down [in Wednesbury]’
Lawton LJ said: ‘Suspicion by itself, however, will not justify an arrest. There must be a factual basis for it of a kind which the court would adjudge to be reasonable. The facts may be within the arresting constable’s own knowledge or have been reported to him. When there is an issue in a trial as to whether a constable had a reasonable cause, his claim to have had knowledge or to have received reports on which he relied may be challenged. It is within this context that there may be evidential issue as what he believed to be the facts. But it would be for the court to adjudge what were the facts which made him suspect that the person he arrested was guilty of the offence which he was investigating.’
Woolf LJ, Sir Frederick Lawton
 NLJR 180, Times 15-Jun-1988,  LG Rev Rep 241,  LGR 241
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 24(6)
England and Wales
Cited – Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation CA 10-Nov-1947
Administrative Discretion to be Used Reasonably
The applicant challenged the manner of decision making as to the conditions which had been attached to its licence to open the cinema on Sundays. It had not been allowed to admit children under 15 years of age. The statute provided no appeal . .
 2 All ER 680,  1 KB 223, 1947 WL 10584, (1948) 92 SJ 26,  LJR 190,  45 LGR 635, (1948) 112 JP 55, 63 TLR 623,  EWCA Civ 1
Cited – Jarrett v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police CA 14-Feb-2003
The claimant sought damages for false imprisonment and assault after her wrongful arrest. She had waived her handbag at an officer investigating a disturbance and been arrested. The police said the arrest was lawful, she being suspected of common . .
 EWCA Civ 397, Gazette 10-Apr-03, Times 28-Feb-03
Cited – Cumming and others v Chief Constable of Northumbria Police CA 17-Dec-2003
The six claimants sought damages for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment. Each had been arrested on an officer’s suspicion. They operated CCTV equipment, and it appeared that tapes showing the commission of an offence had been tampered with. Each . .
 EWCA Civ 1844, Times 02-Jan-04, Gazette 29-Jan-04
Cited – O’Hara v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary HL 21-Nov-1996
The plaintiff had been arrested on the basis of the 1984 Act. The officer had no particular knowledge of the plaintiff’s involvement, relying on a briefing which led to the arrest.
Held: A reasonable suspicion upon which an arrest was founded . .
Gazette 15-Jan-97, Times 13-Dec-96,  UKHL 6,  AC 286,  1 All ER 129,  2 WLR 1,  NI 8,  Crim LR 432,  1 Cr App Rep 447
Cited – Al-Fayed and others v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and others CA 25-Nov-2004
The appellants appealed from dismissal of their claims for wrongful imprisonment by the respondent. Each had attended at a police station for interview on allegations of theft. They had been arrested and held pending interview and then released. Mr . .
 EWCA Civ 1579
Cited – Austin and Saxby v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis QBD 23-Mar-2005
Towards the end of a substantial May Day demonstration on the streets of London, police surrounded about 3,000 people in Oxford Circus and did not allow them to leave for seven hours. The claimant who was present, but not involved in any of the . .
Times 14-Apr-05,  EWHC 480
Cited – Raissi and Another v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis QBD 30-Nov-2007
The claimants had been arrested under the 2000 Act, held for differing lengths of time and released without charge. They sought damages for false imprisonment.
Held: The officers had acted on their understanding that senior offcers had more . .
 EWHC 2842 (QB)
Cited – Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v Raissi CA 12-Nov-2008
The Commissioner appealed against an award of damages for false imprisonment. The claimant had been arrested shortly after a terrorist attack. The judge had held that they had no reasonable belief of his involvement. The Commissioner did not now . .
 3 All ER 14,  PTSR 666,  2 WLR 1243,  QB 564,  EWCA Civ 1237
Cited – Richardson v The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police QBD 29-Mar-2011
The claimant, a teacher, said he had been unlawfully arrested and detained after an allegation of assault from a pupil. Having attended the police station voluntarily, he said that the circumstances did not satisfy the required precondition that an . .
 EWHC 773 (QB),  2 Cr App Rep 1
Cited – Hayes v Merseyside Police CA 29-Jul-2011
The claimant had been arrested after a complaint of harassment. The officer then contacted the complainant who then withdrew his complaint. The officer went to visit the complainant to discuss it further. On his return the claimant was released from . .
 EWCA Civ 911,  2 Cr App R 30,  1 WLR 517
Cited – Howarth v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis QBD 3-Nov-2011
The claimant sought judicial review of a decision to search him whilst travelling to a public protest in London. A previous demonstration involving this group had resulted in criminal damage, but neither the claimant nor his companions were found to . .
 EWHC 2818 (QB)
Cited – Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis v Copeland CA 22-Jul-2014
The defendant appealed against the award of damages for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosection, saying that the question posed for the jury were misdirections, and that the jury’s decision was perverse. The claimant was attending the . .
 EWCA Civ 1014
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 15 December 2020; Ref: scu.190122