Causing the death of a member of your family
Coping with the loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult and stressful times of our lives. This can be even more traumatic if you suspect that the police may have caused the death of your loved one. We can help you during this extremely difficult time by guiding you through this complex area of law.
If a person has died in police custody (or shortly after their release from police custody) then there is an obligation on the police to investigate what has happened. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) must be notified in these circumstances and may lead the investigation themselves.
The obligation also arises when a person has died following contact with the police in a public place.
If police officers have used force against a person which has caused their death, then the police may have committed an unlawful killing.
If a member of your family has died in police custody then you may want to be represented at the Coroner’s inquest.
In addition to representing you at the inquest, we may also be able to assist with a damages claim against the police on behalf of the family or your loved one’s estate.
Using unlawful physical force in order to illicit information
If the police have physically or mentally abused you in order to obtain information from you then you may be able claim compensation for assault & battery and breach of your human rights.
Alternatively, if a police officer subjects you to inhumane, degrading or humiliating treatment, then you may also be able to claim compensation.
Locking you up without lawful reason
If the police or any public body detain you without a lawful reason then you may be able to claim compensation for false imprisonment. You do not necessarily have to be detained at a police station – false imprisonment can occur in the street if the police stop you and require you to remain in a location or area which they choose. If they do not have a lawful reason for doing so and if you have not consented then your detainment may amount to false imprisonment.
Interfering with the criminal process or planting evidence
Police officers should act with honesty and integrity and always obey the law themselves. In rare cases where officers break the law by interfering with or planting evidence, then this is clearly a very serious matter.
If the police pursue a prosecution spitefully and without reasonable or probable cause, then you may be able to claim compensation from the police for malicious prosecution/malicious process.
Disclosing information about you to others
The Data Protection Act 1998 imposes certain obligations on public bodies when it comes to how they handle your personal data. The obligations require those public bodies to maintain up to date and accurate records, ensure that personal data is stored securely and not disclosed to third parties without a lawful reason. If your personal data or information about you is disclosed by a public body to a third party without a lawful reason and you have incurred damage as a result, then you may be able to claim compensation under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Furthermore, if the disclosure of the information to a third party is deemed to have been an unlawful interference with your right to respect for a private and family life, then it may also be possible to make a claim under the Human Rights Act 1998.
Preventing you from lawfully protesting
If the police prevent you from lawfully protesting then they may be breaching your right to respect for a private and family life as well as your right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others.
In addition, if the police physically prevent you from attending a lawful protest by forcing you to remain in a specific place or forcing you to go to a place of their choosing (known as kettling) then this may amount to false imprisonment and/or a breach of your right to liberty.
Conducting an unlawful strip search
A strip search is a very intrusive process and, for may people, can be a very distressing and humiliating experience. Police officers are only permitted to carry out such a search in specific circumstances which are defined by law. Furthermore, the police are subject to strict rules about when, where and how they are to conduct such a search. A written record must also be made.
If the police strip search you without lawful reason or if they fail to follow the correct procedures for carrying out such a search, then you may be able to claim compensation for assault and battery and breach of your right to respect for a private and family life as well as your right to not be subjected to degrading treatment.
Refusing to investigate if it is clear that you have been the victim of human trafficking or forced labour
If you have been the victim of human trafficking or forced labour and you have reported this to the police and provided them with sufficient information, then this may trigger a specific obligation for them to investigate. If, despite this, the police fail or refuse to investigate, then this may breach your right to not be subject to forced labour under Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Depending on the specific circumstances, a compensation claim against the police, for failure to investigate, may be possible especially if this has led to your forced labour continuing. Alternatively, a judicial review to challenge the in-action of the police may be possible.
A failure by the Community Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) to take prompt action when a school, parent or another third party reports concerns about a vulnerable young person – leading to the death or injury of that person
The Community Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) specialise in providing help and treatment for children and young people with emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties. The law imposes certain obligations upon organisations such as CAMHS who are part of the NHS and are often supported and/or funded by the Local Authority.
If a failure by CAMHS to take prompt action in certain circumstances e.g. when a school, parent or another third party reports concerns about a member of your family and failure to take prompt action leads to the death or injury of that person then it may be possible to claim damages on their or your own behalf.
Being subjected too body mapping without lawful justification
Body mapping can describe a process whereby an individual’s body is checked for physical indications of abuse such as cuts and bruises. Any marks of this nature can be recorded in document form. This can be a very intrusive process because it involves removal of clothing. If you or someone you know in Local Authority care is being subject to a process of this kind without legal justification, then it may be possible to take legal action against the Local Authority to stop them and/or claim compensation for incidents of body mapping which have occurred previously when they shouldn’t have.
Unreasonable delays by the Parole Board leading to a delay in Parole Board hearings taking place and a delay in being released from prison
If your release from prison was delayed due to unreasonable delays at the Parole Board, then this may give rise to a claim for compensation for breach of your right to a speedy review of your imprisonment under Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Unreasonable delays by the Probation Trust or an Offender Manager/Probation Officer leading to delays in Parole Board hearings taking place and a delay in being released from prison
If your Parole Board hearing was delayed due to unreasonable delays caused by Probation, then this may give rise to a claim for compensation for breach of your right to a speedy review of your imprisonment, under Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights, if you were released by the Parole Board when your oral hearing eventually took place.
Unreasonable delays by the Prison Service or the Ministry of Justice leading to delays in Parole Board hearings taking place and a delay in being released from prison
If your Parole Board hearing was delayed due to unreasonable delays caused by the Ministry of Justice, then this may give rise to a claim for compensation for breach of your right to a speedy review of your imprisonment, under Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights, if you were released by the Parole Board when your oral hearing eventually took place.