Protecting Your Rights and Freedoms
We act for individuals who are concerned by the actions or omissions of public and state bodies. Such bodies include the Police, IOPC, CPS, Local Authorities, Prisons, Detention Centres.
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The work we do covers the following areas:
- Historic Abuse
- Child Abuse
- Claims Against Public Authority
- Judicial Review
- Malicious Prosecution
- False Imprisonment
- Discrimination & Human Rights Act Claims
- Misconduct & Complaints
- Stop & Search
- Misuse of goods and property
- Mistaken identity
Our Civil Liberties team are specialists in their field. They provide a quality service tailored to your specific needs. They will support you from the beginning of your matter through to the end.
The police and other state agencies should only use their powers for the public good. We place a lot of trust in law enforcement to act responsibly and carry out their duties with integrity. If powers are used for an improper purpose, then you may be able to bring a compensation claim for misfeasance in public office.
To bring such a claim two things must be established at the outset. Firstly, that the conduct in question was carried out by a ‘public officer’. This will usually include police officers and employees of state agencies, such as prison and immigration officers. Secondly, that the conduct has caused you either financial loss, damage to your reputation, or personal injury.
If this is established, it will then be necessary to look at what the officer did, and why. Essentially, we must be able to demonstrate that the officer acted in bad faith.
However complex your case, guidance of our specialist lawyers will help you establish the truth. As a result, this will maximise your chances of succeeding in your claim. Our team has a wealth of experience in assisting clients with these types of claim.
Wrongful Arrest or False Imprisonment
Although these mean two different things, there is in fact only one claim which is False imprisonment. This arises where an individual has been detained without the lawful authority to do so.
Most commonly, these claims are brought against the Police but other detaining authorities can bear responsibility for these claims. This can include prisons, immigration detention centres and mental health institutions.
Examples of where false imprisonment can arise include:
- If you are wrongfully arrested.
- If you are held in custody when you should not have been.
- If you are held in custody for longer than you should have been.
- If you are subjected to a stop and search when you should not have been.
We have a long and substantial track record in recovering redress (including damages) for our clients who have had their right of liberty infringed.
Complaints to the police must be brought no later than 12 months from the date of the incident.
Claims for false imprisonment or wrongful arrest must be made within 6 years of the incident.
Our team also include members of the Police Action Lawyers Group. This is a national organisation comprised of Solicitors and Barristers who specialise in representing claimants against the police.
A judicial review is a way to challenge the decision of a public body. Public bodies include things such as a local authority, a police force, a Coroner, or a prison. It is a means of a last resort where no other remedy is available.
On What Grounds Can a Judicial Review be Sought?
There are three grounds upon which you can bring a judicial review challenge:
- Illegality – you must show that the organisation concerned acted illegally, i.e. they have committed an error of law when reaching the decision you wish to challenge.
- Irrationality – this means that the decision made by the organisation was so bad that no organisation could reasonably have made that decision in those particular circumstances.
- Procedural Impropriety – this occurs when the organisation fails to comply with an express procedural requirement within legislation when reaching their decision. The nature of any such procedural impropriety is fact specific.
There are very strict time limits for bringing such a challenge.
You must bring a challenge: “as soon as possible or at the very latest within 3 months of the date of the decision being challenged.”
If you wish to bring a judicial review challenge, please contact our team who will be able to advise you further.
Providing quality service tailored to you
If you have been wrongly prosecuted, it may be possible to bring a malicious prosecution claim for compensation.
In order to succeed in a malicious prosecution claim, the following points must be established:
- That the prosecution has been brought against you.
- That the prosecution concluded in your favour i.e. that you were acquitted at court or that the case against you was dropped.
- That the proceedings were instituted or carried on maliciously.
- That you suffered damage as a result.
In order to establish the above, our solicitors will assess your case to determine what the police did, and why. There will be many factors that will be relevant here. We will consider things such as whether the officers were acting in bad faith or acting with malice and whether they genuinely believed that you were guilty.
These types of claims can be complex, mostly because these factors can be difficult to determine. Our experienced solicitors will advise you on the best way to maximise your chances of establishing the truth and obtaining a reasonable outcome.
Assault and Battery
We have acted for many individuals in claims against the police for assault. Our team of Lawyers are specialists in this area of law.
An assault can occur when a police officer causes you to fear physical contact. A battery can occur when a police officer makes physical contact with you, for example by using a baton, truncheon, CS gas or Taser.
The use of force must be necessary, reasonable and proportionate. You may have a claim if the force used by the police was excessive.
You may have a technical claim for assault if, for example, a police officer was not acting in the execution of their duties.
Examples of excessive force include;
- Aggressively manhandled;
- Handcuffed or restrained without authority;
- Struck by a police officer and/or another object;
- Sprayed with CS gas (pepper spray) or;
- Tasered (if it has been used unnecessarily or inappropriately.
You may also have a claim if you are put in fear of being assaulted. For example, this could occur when a police officer raises his truncheon or baton.
We have substantial experience in dealing with individuals who have experienced excessive force at the hands of the police on how to make a formal complaint to the police, as well as advising on appeals to the Independent Office for Police Conduct and Judicial Review of both police and IOPC decisions.
Complaints to the police must be brought no later than 12 months from the incident.
Personal injury claims must be made within 3 years of the incident or diagnosis of injury sustained from the incident.
We can offer legal aid, conditional fee agreement, deferred fee funding and private funding arrangements.
To find out more about how our experienced team can assist you, please get in touch.