Services

Police Claims and Complaints

Someone who has suffered ill-treatment at the hands of the police can enforce their rights and hold the police to account. Police claims are complex, but with the right legal advice it is possible to obtain substantial compensation for pain, suffering and losses caused by the misconduct.

At Saunders Law, our Civil Liberties and Human Rights team regularly assist those who have suffered some of the most serious abuse obtain justice. We pride ourselves on building strong, trust-based relationships with our clients and have a strong track record of making successful claims in this area.

Our Civil Liberties and Human Rights team is led by Nia Williams, a highly skilled lawyer whose experience includes advising the family members of people who died during the Hillsborough tragedy in their claims against the police. Nia and the rest of the team utilise a wide range of expertise to advise and represent clients in matters involving a range of public authorities such as:

  • The police
  • Regulatory bodies such as the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)
  • Immigration authorities
  • Trading standards

Our expertise includes:

  • Judicial review to challenge the decisions of public bodies
  • Complaints involving the Professional Standards Department (PSD) and Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) (formally the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC))
  • Representing clients at inquests and public inquiries where a person has died in custody or in suspicious circumstances
  • False imprisonment and wrongful arrest
  • Unlawful stop and search
  • Unlawful seizure of goods
  • Unlawful strip search
  • Use of excessive force
  • Police assault
  • Claims for taser gun injuries
  • Human rights breaches
  • Malicious prosecutions
  • Discrimination
  • Police trespass
  • Misfeasance in public office

Speak to our police complaints solicitors in London

For advice about making a claim against the police, call our police complaints solicitors in London on 020 7315 4803 or make an enquiry online.

Why Saunders Law is the smart choice for actions against the police

Litigation specialists with decades of experience

Our firm can trace its roots back to 1974. For over 45 years we have specialised in complex civil litigation with particular expertise in civil liberties cases and actions against the police.

An expert-led approach with a personal touch

We pride ourselves on our excellent approach to client care. The needs of our clients come first at all times. We aim to always respond to calls and emails the same day and our partners are readily available to provide advice and answer questions when needed.

Independently recognised expertise

Saunders Law is independently recognised by prestigious client guides, Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500 for our expertise in police law, civil liberties and human rights and administrative and public law (such as inquiries and cases involving the IOPC). Several of our team are also individually ranked as industry leaders in their respective areas, including Nia Williams for her police law, civil liberties and human rights work.

Free, no obligation, initial consultations

We can offer a free no obligation consultation for clients looking for initial advice about making a claim against the police or other public body.

Making a claim against the police

When the police or any other officers of the state, such as immigration or prison officers, act unlawfully, there are various legal avenues for holding them responsible for the wrongs they have committed. These include:

  • Going through the police complaints process
  • Making a civil claim for compensation
  • Seeking judicial review of a public body’s exercise of their powers

Which route will be the best depends on the particular circumstances.

Drawing on over 45 years combined legal experience and knowledge, our expert litigators have been obtaining justice for those who have suffered wrongs and ill–treatment at the hands of the state. We work tirelessly on our clients’ behalves, fighting to get them the remedy they deserve, be it:

  • An apology
  • Compensation
  • Disciplinary action
  • Destruction of samples and DNA records
  • Removal of your personal data from police databases
  • Assurance that the same mistakes will not happen again

Police complaints

Police complaints are generally handled by the relevant police force in accordance with policing law and extensive statutory guidance produced by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). The most serious and sensitive police complaints are handled by the IOPC itself.

The purpose of the complaints system is to hold police forces to account for their actions and improve conduct where necessary. Therefore, it is always worth considering making a complaint as it could influence the reform of harmful policies and practices.

Our expertise includes handling complaints with individual police forces and complaints through the IOPC. We can also assist with reviews and appeals for individuals who are unhappy with the way their complaint was handled.

Civil claims for compensation

Claims against the police can often be challenging because of something called Hill immunity. Hill was a legal case that held that the police cannot generally be held liable for negligence connected with the investigation or suppression of crime. However, there are still a wide range of compensation claims individuals can take against the police, including:

  • Discrimination
  • Human rights breaches
  • Data protection breaches
  • Defamation
  • Unlawful arrest
  • False imprisonment
  • Police assault and battery
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Police trespass
  • Misfeasance in public office (abuse of power)
  • Maliciously obtaining search or arrest warrants

Judicial review

Judicial review is the process of reviewing how a decision by a public body was made (rather than whether the decision was right or wrong). Public bodies that can be challenged using judicial review include:

  • The IOPC
  • Local authorities
  • Immigration authorities
  • Regulatory bodies

There are three main grounds upon which a decision may be overturned:

  • Illegality – the decision-maker did not have the legal power to make the decision
  • Procedural unfairness – the process used to make the decision was unfair
  • Irrationality – the body made a decision that no reasonable person, acting in a reasonable way, would have made

We can provide advice on individual decisions and whether there are any prospects for making a claim based on the grounds above.

For more information, visit our Judicial Review and Public Law page.

Fees for actions against the police

We can provide advice on the funding options available for making a claim against the police, such as eligibility for legal aid or the viability of a conditional fee agreement.

Our Experience - solicitors specialising in actions against the police

Our lawyers have an excellent record obtaining compensation and apologies, along with disciplinary action, against the police and other public bodies.

Our successes have included:

  • Securing compensation for clients who suffer loss or injury as a result of police misconduct, including police assault, unlawful stop and search, unlawful arrest or seizure of goods and false imprisonment
  • Helping the families of those who have died following contact with the police or other public bodies, for instance, representation for members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group in relation to civil claims against public bodies arising out of the Hillsborough tragedy
  • Helping clients who were unlawfully detained by immigration authorities
  • Assisting Michael Mansfield QC with the Pitchford Inquiry into undercover policing

Saunders Law - Protecting & Enforcing Our Clients’ Rights

Our renowned police actions and human rights solicitors are acknowledged experts in this complex field of law. The team routinely works on high-profile and newsworthy matters, including advising members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group following the Hillsborough Disaster and advising Michael Mansfield QC in relation to the Pitchford Inquiry into unlawful undercover policing.

The expert team of solicitors is always happy to offer an initial, free, no obligation telephone discussion and can provide advice on funding complaints.

We are ranked as a leading firm in The Legal 500 for Civil Liberties and Human Rights, and Administrative and Public Law, and in Chambers & Partners for Police Law: Mainly Claimant.

Arrange an initial, no obligation consultation with our police complaints solicitors in London

For a free, no-obligation, initial discussion of how we may be able to help, including possible funding options, please contact us today.

For advice about making a claim against the police, call our police complaints solicitors in London on 020 7315 4803 or make an enquiry online.

Call us on 0207 632 4300 or make an enquiry online.

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