Garrett v Attorney-General: 1997

(New Zealand Court of Appeal) Mr Garrett claimed damages for financial loss and damage to her reputation caused by the alleged failure of the police to investigate her complaint that she had been raped by a police constable in a police station.
Held: The court relied on Three Rivers. Blanchard J agreed: ‘that it is insufficient to show foreseeability of damage caused by a knowing breach of duty by a public officer. The plaintiff, in our view, must prove that the official had an actual appreciation of the consequences for the plaintiff, or people in the general position of the plaintiff, of the disregard of duty, or that the official was recklessly indifferent to the consequences and can thus be taken to have been content for them to happen as they would’. The common law had long set its face against any general principle that invalid administrative action by itself gives rise to a cause of action in damages by those who have suffered loss as a consequence of that action.


Blanchard J


[1997] 2 NZLR 332


England and Wales


ApprovedThree Rivers District Council v Bank of England QBD 22-Apr-1996
In an allegation of misfeasance in public office, a complainant who says he has been affected by the alleged misfeasance, has sufficient locus standi to claim. Parliamentary materials are admissible to discover purpose of an Act, and not just in . .

Cited by:

CitedWatkins v Home Office and others HL 29-Mar-2006
The claimant complained of misfeasance in public office by the prisons for having opened and read protected correspondence whilst he was in prison. The respondent argued that he had suffered no loss. The judge had found that bad faith was . .
FollowedRawlinson v Rice 1997
(New Zealand Court of Appeal) The plaintiff asserted that a non-molestation order had been made against him by the defendant District Court Judge without jurisdiction and in breach of natural justice. He sued, in tort, for misfeasance in public . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Torts – Other

Updated: 01 May 2022; Ref: scu.240002