Davidson v Chief Constable of North Wales Police and Another: CA 31 May 1993

A store detective said the plaintiffs had stolen from the store. He was wrong. The plaintiffs sought damages from the defendant for false imprisonment.
Held: If the police use their own discretion to arrest a suspect, an informer is not liable for false imprisonment. The intervention by the police breaks any causation of the store detectives. The officer was not liable under the 1984 Act. The question was whether a defendant to a claim for false imprisonment had ‘himself been the instigator, promoter and active inciter of the action (namely, the arrest that followed)’.
Sir Thomas Bingham MR said: ‘Accordingly, as it would seem to me, the question which arose for . . Decision . . was whether there was information properly to be considered by the jury as to whether what [the defendant] did went beyond laying information before police officers for them to take such action as they thought fit, and amounted to some direction, or procuring, or direct request, or direct encouragement that they should act by way of arresting [the plaintiffs].’
The test of the store detective’s conduct was whether he: ‘went beyond laying information before police officers for them to take such action as they thought fit and amounted to some direction, or procuring, or direct request, or direct encouragement that they should act by way of arresting these defendants.’
As to the case of M, Laws J’s reasoning was approved but not the conclusion: ‘The judge goes straight from a finding that the hospital managers were entitled to act upon an apparently valid application to the conclusion that the applicant’s detention was therefore not unlawful. That is, in my judgment, a non sequitur. It is perfectly possible that the hospital managers were entitled to act on an apparently valid application, but that the detention was in fact unlawful. If that were not so the implications would, in my judgment, be horrifying. It would mean that an application which appeared to be in order would render the detention of a citizen lawful even though it was shown or admitted that the approved social worker purporting to make the application was not an approved social worker, that the registered medical practitioners whose recommendations founded the application were not registered medical practitioners or had not signed the recommendations, and that the approved social worker had not consulted the patient’s nearest relative or had consulted the patient’s nearest relative and that relative had objected. In other words, it would mean that the detention was lawful even though every statutory safeguard built into the procedure was shown to have been ignored or violated.’
Sir Thomas Bingham MR, Staughton LJ
Ind Summary 31-May-1993, [1994] 2 All ER 597
Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 24(6)
England and Wales
OverruledRegina v Managers of South Western Hospital and Another, Ex Parte M QBD 24-Mar-1993
The patient was detained on the application of an AMHP. In purported pursuance of section 11(4) the AMHP had consulted the patient’s mother as her nearest relative. However, the patient’s mother was not ordinarily resident in the UK, and, according . .

Cited by:
CitedKeegan and Others v Chief Constable of Merseyside CA 3-Jul-2003
The police had information suggesting (wrongly) that a fugitive resided at an address. An armed raid followed, and the claimant occupant sought damages.
Held: The tort of malicious procurement of a search warrant required it to be established . .
CitedID and others v The Home Office (BAIL for Immigration Detainees intervening) CA 27-Jan-2005
The claimants sought damages and other reliefs after being wrongfully detained by immigration officers for several days, during which they had been detained at a detention centre and left locked up when it burned down, being released only by other . .
CitedPrison Officers Association v Iqbal CA 4-Dec-2009
The claimant, a prisoner, alleged false imprisonment. The prison officers had taken unlawful strike action leaving him to be confined within his cell and unable to be involved in his normal activities. In view of the strike, a governor’s order had . .
CitedTTM v London Borough of Hackney and Others CA 14-Jan-2011
The claimant had been found to have been wrongfully detained under section 3. He appealed against rejection of his claim for judicial review and for damages. The court found that his detention was lawful until declared otherwise. He argued that the . .
CitedCommissioner 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 . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 09 April 2021; Ref: scu.79827