Keyse v Commissioner of the Police for the Metropolis, Scutts: CA 18 May 2001

The court considered liability where a police car on emergency duty hit Mr Scutts causing very serious injuries. The officer appealed against a finding of liability saying that the judge had declared irrelevant the fact he was on an emergency response.
Held: The officer’s appeal was allowed: ‘even in an emergency, a driver is required to drive reasonably carefully in all the circumstances. One significant feature of such cases where the vehicle in question is deployed by one of the emergency services, is that the driver is normally entitled to assume that other road users will not ignore the unmistakable evidence of its approach, and where appropriate, temporarily at any rate, will use the road accordingly. Pedestrians can usually be expected to follow the relevant advice in the Highway Code . . although drivers should allow for the unexpected when they are at the wheel of a car, it would inhibit the valuable work done for the community as a whole, if drivers in the emergency services were not allowed to drive their vehicles on the basis that pedestrians would recognise their warning lights and sirens and give them proper priority by keeping out of their paths.’
Judge LJ, Latham LJ, Lloyd LJ
[2001] EWCA Civ 715
England and Wales
CitedMarshall v Osmond CA 1983
The plaintiff was passenger in a stolen car seeking to escape the police as they chased. The car was stopped, the plaintiff got out of the car, and was hit by a police car. He sought damages.
Held: His appeal against dismissal of his claim was . .
OutdatedGaynor v Allen 1959
McNair J considered that when looking at the driving of a police officer, the standard remained that of the experienced skilled and careful driver. McNair considered a submission: ‘that if the motor-cyclist had been a civilian he would undoubtedly . .

Cited by:
CitedArmsden v Kent Police CA 26-Jun-2009
The claimants sought damages as personal representatives after the deceased died when her car was hit by a police car responding to an emergency call. The defendant appealed a finding of negligence.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The judge had . .
CitedAn Informer v A Chief Constable CA 29-Feb-2012
The claimant appealed against dismissal of his claim for damages against the police. He had provided them with information, but he said that they had acted negligently and in breach of contract causing him financial loss. The officer handling his . .
CitedSmith v Nottinghamshire Police CA 23-Feb-2012
The claimant had been very severely injured when hit by a police car on an emergency call. She appealed against a finding that she was 75% to blame. The defendant argued that he was not liable at all.
Ward LJ discussed the Keyse . .
CitedMacleod (By His Deputy and Litigation Friend, Macleod) v Commissioner of Police of The Metropolis QBD 3-Apr-2014
The claimant sought damages after being severely injured when knocked from his cycle by police officers in a car attending an emergency, and driving over the speed limit.
Held: The claim succeeded, and there had been no contributory negligence . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 02 January 2021; Ref: scu.147553