Ashley v Chief Constable of Sussex Police [2008]

Facts

  • Ashley was shot dead while in bed during an armed police raid on his house
  • The Chief Constable admitted negligence in the shooting
  • The son and father of the deceased bought claims for negligence, assault and battery

Issues

  • Whether the requirements for self defence should be the same in tort law are they are in criminal law
  • Whether the assault and battery claims could proceed to trial (vindicatory damages) on their own

Decision

  • The requirements for self defence in tort are different to those in criminal law; in civil law, the belief of imminent danger need not be reasonably held, and may allow a pre-emptive attack
  • There was no reason why the claims for assault and battery should not proceed

Reasoning

  • Every person has the right not to be subjected to physical harm, this takes precedence over the reasonableness of that person’s belief of imminent danger
  • An appeal may succeed just for the purpose of vindicating rights
  • Lord Neuberger dissented on the second issue, suggesting that a public apology, 2 internal inquiries and acceptance of liability for damages was enough to outweigh the factors which would allow the claims to proceed

Citation

[2008] UKHL 25

RELATED CASE  Jan De Nul v NV Royal Belge [2002]

Posted in Tort Law Revision Notes.

This page was last updated on 23rd April 2014

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