Smith v Chief Constable of Essex: CA 2008

The claimant sought damages from the police, saying that the way they had handled the witness protection programme had led to him suffering injury.
Held: The action which had been struck out by the court below should be restored, because even though ‘the story of the common law would not therefore appear to promise a favourable outcome to the present claim’ and ‘the claimant’s case in the present state of the law ( was) ‘fraught with difficulty’ the court did not regard it ‘as inevitably doomed to failure’.
Sedley LJ said: ‘no duty of care is owed by the police to the public at large so as to render them liable to an individual who suffers harm from their neglect’ but nonetheless ‘it has become clear . . that in some cases involving the police the very proximity of the parties can not only create a duty of care but can overcome the public policy considerations which would otherwise bar the claim.’


Rimer LJ, Sedley LJ


[2008] EWCA Civ 39


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedK v Central and North West London Mental Health NHS Trust and Another QBD 30-May-2008
The claimant appealed against an order striking out his claim in negligence. He had leaped from a window in a suicide attempt. The accommodation was provided by the defendant whilst caring for him under the 1983 Act.
Held: The case should be . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Negligence, Litigation Practice, Police

Updated: 07 May 2022; Ref: scu.270320