Nominal damages only in unlawful arrest case, as reasonable grounds to suspect offence & necessity of arrest


Re: Parker v Chief Constable of Essex Police [2018] EWCA Civ 2788

The defendant Chief Constable brought an appeal against substantial damages for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment. Held, allowing the appeal. Inter alia, the judge had been entitled to conclude that there were reasonable grounds to suspect the claimant of an offence and a reasonable belief in the necessity of arrest, therefore the claimant was only entitled to nominal damages. Substantial damages would not be awarded if, had the defendant acted lawfully, the claimant would have been detained in any case, because no harm would ultimately have been caused.

Hugh Tomlinson QC and Lorna Skinner were involved in this case.