Thompson v Commissioner of Police of Metropolis; Hsu v Same: CA 20 Feb 1997

CS Damages of 200,000 pounds by way of exemplary damages had been awarded against the police for unlawful arrest and assault.
Held: The court gave a guideline maximum pounds 50,000 award against police for wrongful arrest and wrongful imprisonment. Comparisons were proper with personal injury cases. It is important to identify and quantify the various elements going to make up an award. Where exemplary damages were appropriate they were unlikely to be less than andpound;5,000: otherwise the case was probably not one which justified an award of exemplary damages at all. Although there could be a penal element in the award of aggravated damages, these were primarily to be awarded to compensate the plaintiff for injury to his proper pride and dignity and the consequences of his being humiliated or where those responsible had acted in a high handed insulting or malicious manner.
In cases where juries were assessing damages in actions for assault, wrongful imprisonment or malicious prosecution arising out police misconduct, section 8(1) has the effect of ‘lowering the barrier against intervention’ in relation to such awards.
Woolfe LJ said: ‘In deciding upon what should be treated as the upper limits for exemplary damages we have selected a figure which is sufficiently substantial to make it clear that there has been conduct of a nature which warrants serious civil punishment and indicates the jury’s vigorous disapproval of what has occurred but at the same time recognises that the plaintiff is the recipient of a windfall in relation to exemplary damages. As punishment is the primary objective in this class of case it is more difficult to tie the amount of exemplary damages to the award of compensatory damages, including aggravated.’ and ‘However, in many cases it could prove a useful check subject to the upper limits we have identified if it is accepted that it will be unusual for the exemplary damages to produce a result of more than three times the basic damages being awarded (as the total of the basic aggravated and exemplary damages) except again where the basic damages are modest.’
Woolfe MR, Auld LJ, Sir Brian Neill
Times 20-Feb-1997, [1997] 2 All ER 762, [1997] 1 WLR 1519, [1997] EWCA Civ 3083, [1998] 1 QB 498, (1998) 10 Admin LR 363, [1997] 3 WLR 403
Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 8(1)
England and Wales
See AlsoThomas v Commissioner of Police for Metropolis CA 28-Nov-1996
In an action for damages and false imprisonment, the defendant police officers sought to have introduced the claimant’s previous criminal record, which was expired under the 1974 Act.
Held: The judge had been correct not to follow practice in . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina (on the Application of O’Brien, Hickey, Hickey) v Independent Assessor QBD 16-Apr-2003
The claimants were to be awarded damages for having been wrongly imprisoned for many years. The respondent was to calculate the award. They complained that he had refused to particularise the award to identify and itemise non-pecuniary loss.
CitedIndependent Assessor v O’Brien, Hickey, Hickey CA 29-Jul-2004
The claimants had been imprisoned for many years before their convictions were quashed. They claimed compensation under the Act. The assessor said that there should be deducted from the award the living expenses they would have incurred if they had . .
CitedWatkins v Secretary of State for The Home Departmentand others CA 20-Jul-2004
The claimant complained that prison officers had abused the system of reading his solicitor’s correspondence whilst he was in prison. The defendant argued that there was no proof of damage.
Held: Proof of damage was not necessary in the tort . .
CitedWatson v Cleveland Police CA 12-Oct-2001
The defendant appealed an award of damages in favour of the applicant for assault by police officers whilst held in police custody. The said the judge should have allowed the claimant’s criminal record in in full.
Held: The judge had directed . .
CitedR, Regina (on the Application of) v Durham Constabulary and Another HL 17-Mar-2005
The appellant, a boy aged 15, had been warned as to admitted indecent assaults on girls. He complained that it had not been explained to him that the result would be that his name would be placed on the sex offenders register. The Chief Constable . .
CitedKD v Chief Constable of Hampshire QBD 23-Nov-2005
The claimant’s daughter had made a complaint of rape. She alleged that she was sexually harassed by the investigating police officer, and sought damages also from the defendant, his employer. The officer denied that anything improper or . .
CitedManley v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis CA 28-Jun-2006
The claimant succeeded in his action against the respondent for assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. He appealed his award of damages for malicious prosecution. He had a bad record, and the essential issue was the extent to which . .
CitedClark v Chief Constable of Cleveland Police CA 7-May-1999
It was appropriate for courts in all cases to give juries both general guidance on awarding damages and guidance as to the range of awards available in the circumstances. The court aslo set out the proper approach to the award of aggravated damages . .
CitedKaragozlu v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis CA 12-Dec-2006
The claimant made a claim for misfeasance in public office. The defendant argued that such a claim required proof of special damage. The claimant said that the deprivation of liberty amounted to such damage. Whilst serving a prison sentence the . .
CitedRowlands v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police CA 20-Dec-2006
The claimant succeeded in her claims for general damages against the respondent for personal injury, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, but appealed refusal of the court to award aggravated damages against the chief constable.
Held: . .
CitedSubiah v The Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago PC 3-Nov-2008
(Trinidad and Tobago) The Board considered the extent of damages for infringement of the claimant’s constitutional rights. He had been on board a bus. He complained when a policeman was allowed not to buy a ticket. The same constable arrested him as . .
CitedTakitota v the Attorney General and others PC 18-Mar-2009
(Bahamas) The applicant a tourist had been wrongfully detained in appalling conditions in the Bahamas for over eight years after he lost his documents. He now appealed against an award of $500,000 dollars compensation.
Held: ‘it would not be . .
CitedAT and others v Dulghieru and Another QBD 19-Feb-2009
The claimants had been subject to unlawful human trafficking. Their abductors had been imprisoned, and they now sought damages. The court was asked now to assess the damages to be awarded for sexual enslavement. Each claimant suffered chronic post . .
CitedTakitota v the Attorney General and others PC 18-Mar-2009
(Bahamas) The applicant a tourist had been wrongfully detained in appalling conditions in the Bahamas for over eight years after he lost his documents. He now appealed against an award of $500,000 dollars compensation.
Held: ‘it would not be . .
CitedMuuse v Secretary of State for The Home Department CA 27-Apr-2010
The claimant, a Dutch national, was detained pending deportation. He was arrested ‘for immigration’ after being given bail in other proceedings. It had been found that that detention was unlawful. He did not come within the criteria for deportation, . .
CitedRichardson v The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police QBD 29-Mar-2011
The claimant, a teacher, said he had been unlawfully arrested and detained after an allegation of assault from a pupil. Having attended the police station voluntarily, he said that the circumstances did not satisfy the required precondition that an . .
CitedClifford v The Chief Constable of The Hertfordshire Constabulary QBD 1-Apr-2011
The claimant alleged malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office bought by the claimant who was charged with child pornography offences in July 2004. The prosecution had eventually offered no evidence. He said that it should have been . .
CitedThakrar v The Secretary of State for Justice Misc 31-Dec-2015
County Court sitting at Milton Keynes. The claimant prisoner sought damages saying that his personal property had been damaged whilst in the care of the defendant.
Held: The claims succeeded in part. Some damage was deliberate. There was a . .
CitedRoberts, Regina (on the application of) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and another SC 17-Dec-2015
The Court considered the validity of suspicionless stop and search activities under s 60 of the 1994 Act, by police officers.
Held: The claimant’s appeal failed. The safeguards attending the use of the s 60 power, and in particular the . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 20 April 2021; Ref: scu.89872