Osman and another v Ferguson and another: CA 7 Oct 1992

Limits of Police duty to protect

A schoolmaster developed an infatuation for a teenage pupil. It led to the killing of the pupil’s father, the wounding of the pupil, the wounding of a deputy headmaster and the killing of the deputy headmaster’s son. Mr Osman’s widow and the pupil claimed against, with another, the Commissioner of Metropolitan Police. The defendant appealed against a refusal to strike out the claim.
Held: The appeal was allowed. In light of previous authorities, no action could lie against the police in negligence in the investigation and suppression of crime on the grounds that public policy required an immunity from suit. The Commissioner and his officers owed the father and the pupil no duty of care.
Lord Justice McCowan
[1993] 4 All ER 344, [1992] EWCA Civ 8
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal followingOsman v The United Kingdom ECHR 28-Oct-1998
Police’s Complete Immunity was Too Wide
(Grand Chamber) A male teacher developed an obsession with a male pupil. He changed his name by deed poll to the pupil’s surname. He was required to teach at another school. The pupil’s family’s property was subjected to numerous acts of vandalism, . .
CitedWelton, Welton v North Cornwall District Council CA 17-Jul-1996
The defendant authority appealed a finding that it was liable in negligence from the conduct of one of its environmental health officers. The plaintiff had set out to refurbish and open a restaurant. He said the officer gave him a list of things he . .
CitedHertfordshire Police v Van Colle; Smith v Chief Constable of Sussex Police HL 30-Jul-2008
Police Obligations to Witnesses is Limited
A prosecution witness was murdered by the accused shortly before his trial. The parents of the deceased alleged that the failure of the police to protect their son was a breach of article 2.
Held: The House was asked ‘If the police are alerted . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 21 May 2021; Ref: scu.183662