Van Colle v Hertfordshire Police: QBD 10 Mar 2006

The claimants claimed for the estate of their murdered son. He had been waiting to give evidence in a criminal trial, and had asked the police for support having received threats. Other witnesses had also suffered intimidation including acts of arson to cars and premises. The police officer had been disciplined for failing to respond properly.
Held: ‘There is no conflict . . between the common law and human rights jurisprudence in this area.’ The family had established a sufficiently close connection between the deceased and the defendant. ‘Members of the public who are complainants or prosecution witnesses in a criminal investigation and who are required to give material evidence at trial are in a special situation, as the existence of the Defendant’s witness protection policy recognises. Quite apart from a judge’s general powers to issue a warrant for the arrest of a witness who fails to attend court pursuant to a witness order, to remand him or her in custody and to punish such a witness for contempt, Parliament has recognised the need for witnesses to be protected from defendants in criminal proceedings.’
Cox J
[2006] EWHC 360 (QB), Times 28-Mar-2006, [2006] 3 All ER 963, [2006] 1 FCR 755, [2006] Inquest LR 68, [2006] HRLR 25, [2006] Po LR 47
Bailii
Human Rights Act 1998 7(1), European Convention on Human Rights 2 8
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedHill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire HL 28-Apr-1987
No General ty of Care Owed by Police
The mother of a victim of the Yorkshire Ripper claimed in negligence against the police alleging that they had failed to satisfy their duty to exercise all reasonable care and skill to apprehend the perpetrator of the murders and to protect members . .
CitedMcCann and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 6-Oct-1995
mccann_ukECHR1995
Wrong assumptions made by police officers in the killing of terrorists amounted to a human rights breach, despite the existence of danger to the public of an imminent attack. Article 2(1) is ‘one of the most fundamental provisions in the . .
CitedOsman 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, . .
CitedKeenan v The United Kingdom ECHR 3-Apr-2001
A young prisoner was known to be at risk of suicide, but nevertheless was not provided with adequate specialist medical supervision. He was punished for an offence, by way of segregation which further put him at risk.
Held: Inhuman and . .
CitedBloggs 61, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department CA 18-Jun-2003
The applicant sought review of a decision to remove him from a witness protection scheme within the prison. He claimed that having been promised protection, he had a legitimate expectation of protection, having been told he would receive protection . .
CitedRegina (A and others) (Widgery Soldiers) v Lord Saville of Newdigate and Others CA 19-Dec-2001
The court would apply common sense in deciding whether soldier witnesses should be obliged to attend in person at an enquiry in Londonderry, where they claimed their lives would be at risk. It was not appropriate to seek to define what would be . .
CitedRegina v Governor of Pentonville Prison, Ex parte Fernandez: Fernandez v Government of Singapore HL 1971
Test for police protection need
The court considered the degree of risk to an individual which should give rise to a duty on the police to protect him under article 2.
Held: Lord Diplock said: ‘My Lords, bearing in mind the relative gravity of the consequences of the court’s . .
CitedBrooks v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and others HL 21-Apr-2005
The claimant was with Stephen Lawrence when they were both attacked and Mr Lawrence killed. He claimed damages for the negligent way the police had dealt with his case, and particularly said that they had failed to assess him as a victim of crime, . .
CitedIn re McKerr (Northern Ireland) HL 11-Mar-2004
The deceased had been shot by soldiers of the British Army whilst in a car in Northern Ireland. The car was alleged to have ‘run’ a checkpoint. The claimants said the investigation, now 20 years ago, had been inadequate. The claim was brought under . .
CitedRondel v Worsley HL 1967
Need for Advocate’s Immunity from Negligence
The appellant had obtained the services of the respondent barrister to defend him on a dock brief, and alleged that the respondent had been negligent in the conduct of his defence.
Held: The House considered the immunity from suit of . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Anufrijeva HL 26-Jun-2003
The appellant challenged the withdrawal of her benefits payments. She had applied for asylum, and been granted reduced rate income support. A decision was made refusing her claim, but that decision was, by policy, not communicated to her for several . .
CitedDF v Chief Constable of Norfolk Police Secretary of State for Home Department Admn 15-Aug-2002
A prisoner serving a life sentence challenged the decision of the Prison Service to refuse to admit him to a witness protection unit and contended that the Norfolk Police had failed in their duty to provide appropriate information to the Prison . .
CitedRondel v Worsley HL 1967
Need for Advocate’s Immunity from Negligence
The appellant had obtained the services of the respondent barrister to defend him on a dock brief, and alleged that the respondent had been negligent in the conduct of his defence.
Held: The House considered the immunity from suit of . .
CitedGlaser v The United Kingdom ECHR 19-Sep-2000
‘The essential object of Article 8 is to protect individuals against arbitrary interference by public authorities. There may however be positive obligations inherent in an effective ‘respect’ for family life. These obligations may involve the . .
CitedSwinney and Another v Chief Constable of Northumbria CA 22-Mar-1996
The plaintiff, a woman and her husband, had passed on information in confidence to the police about the identity of a person implicated in the killing of a police officer, expressing her concern that she did not want the source of the information to . .
CitedGreenfield, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 16-Feb-2005
The appellant had been charged with and disciplined for a prison offence. He was refused legal assistance at his hearing, and it was accepted that the proceedings involved the determination of a criminal charge within the meaning of article 6 of the . .
CitedE and Others v The United Kingdom ECHR 26-Nov-2002
The four applicants had been abused by their stepfather, and sought investigation of the local authority for failing to protect them. They had been compensated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority in part, but now sought a remedy from the . .
mentionedAkkoc v Turkey ECHR 10-Oct-2000
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection rejected (estoppel); No violation of Art. 10; Violation of Art. 2 due to failure to protect life; Violation of Art. 2 due to inadequacy of . .
CitedEdwards v The United Kingdom ECHR 14-Mar-2002
The deceased, a young man of mixed race, had been placed in a cell with another prisoner who was known to be violent, racist, and mentally unstable. The staff knew that the panic button was defective. The deceased was murdered by his cell-mate. His . .
CitedSemse Onen v Turkey ECHR 14-May-2002
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection joined to merits and rejected (non-exhaustion); No violation of Art. 2 in respect of killing of applicant . .

Cited by:
CitedVan Colle and Another v Chief Constable of the Hertfordshire Police CA 24-Apr-2007
The deceased had acted as a witness in an intended prosecution. He had sought protection after being threatened. No effective protection was provided, and he was murdered. The chief constable appealed a finding of liability.
Held: The . .
Appeal fromVan Colle and Another v Chief Constable of the Hertfordshire Police CA 24-Apr-2007
The deceased had acted as a witness in an intended prosecution. He had sought protection after being threatened. No effective protection was provided, and he was murdered. The chief constable appealed a finding of liability.
Held: The . .
At First InstanceHertfordshire 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 . .
See AlsoVan Colle (T/A GVC Optometrists) v Revenue and Customs VDT 31-Aug-2007
VDT VAT – three-year ‘cap’ – late claims due partly to tragic family circumstances – whether any basis for time limit to be disapplied – no
VAT – interest – whether due on repayments – extent of trader’s . .
See AlsoVan Colle and Van Colle v The United Kingdom ECHR 9-Feb-2010
Statement of Facts . .
See AlsoVan Colle v The United Kingdom ECHR 13-Nov-2012
. .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 28 January 2021; Ref: scu.239196